The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, brought together more than 650 LGBTQ+ advocates and supporters for its annual Los Angeles Dinner over the weekend.

Sterling K. Brown speaks onstage during the 2024 Human Rights Campaign dinner
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This year’s event offered a powerhouse line-up of talented, influential advocates including Academy-Award nominee and three-time Emmy Award winning actor and producer Sterling K. Brown, Tony, Grammy, and seven-time Emmy nominated actress Jean Smart and long-time LGBTQ+ advocate and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Other special guests included co-founder of The Roots Tariq Trotter, Moonlight co-writer and LGBTQ+ playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, actress, writer and star of HACKS Hannah Einbinder and comedian Dana Goldberg.

First Lady Jill Biden, delivered the keynote speech addressing the growing rise of anti-LGBTQ+ political attacks and the path forward towards full equality.

View video of Dr. Jill Biden’s keynote address.

“We can’t and we won’t refight the fights of the past,” she said. “Today this community is under attack. Rights are being stripped away. Freedoms are eroding. More and more state laws are being passed targeting this community… Yes, the MAGA extremists are seeking to erase these hard fought gains. Trying to unwind all the progress that we’ve made. They want us to be afraid. They want to take our victories away. But, we won’t let them. And we will win, today, tomorrow and all of the days after. Until all of the people in all of the places can live freely, surrounded by love.”

Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction actor and star of NBC’s critically acclaimed series This is Us, received the Ally for Equality Award for his unwavering commitment to LGBTQ+ advocacy.

“We have got to recognize the interconnectedness of our struggles,” he said. “The fight for LGBTQ+ rights and racial justice cannot be seen as separate battles; they are inextricably intertwined… The intertwined fights for civil rights have already come a long way since Stonewall. But the fight is still ongoing and this rich, interconnected history teaches us that the only way forward is together. Liberation cannot be exclusionary and it certainly cannot be achieved alone. Fighting racism, fighting discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, is a fight we are all a part of– because injustice for one is an injustice for everyone… Because whether you are a person of color, part of the LGBTQ+ community, both or neither– this is our fight, our freedom must be shared and our allyship to each other must be unwavering.”

Jean Smart, actress in HBO Max comedy series HACKS and Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, received the National Equality Award for her long history of dedication and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Traits that are considered weaknesses are often signs of great heroism,” she said. “Many who are viewed as flawed are really the strongest and bravest among us. The level of self-knowledge and personal strength that it takes to fight for yourself, especially when no one else will, is beyond measuring. To fight the fear and ignorance of an uneducated world takes enormous self-love… Knowledge is power. And we need to stop being afraid, understand and try to learn from each other. Let’s all try to be patient, let’s try to be tolerant, let’s try to be kind– without exception.”

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