BCC Reveals 2016 Honorees

Los Angeles’ LGBT synagogue Beth Chayim Chadashim announced Evan Wolfson, Marc Solomon, Gwen Walden and Larry Nathenson as the 2016 honorees at the BCC Awards Brunch.

Gay activists Evan Wolfson and Marc Solomon will receive the Harriet Perl Tzedek Award for an outstanding Jewish advocacy for the LGBT community; Gwen Walden will recieve the Humanitarian Award named after Rabbi Erwin & Agnes Herman – for an outstanding social involvement and Larry Nathenson will be this year recipient of the Presidents Award for his outstanding work in the BCC community. For more details click here

Awards honoree last year include ‘Transparent’ star Jeffrey Tambor and A Wider Bridge’s board member Bruce Maxwell.

The BCC Awards Brunch will take place April 10 at Herscher Hall and Guerin Pavilion, Skirball Multicultural Center in Los Angeles.

More details on the honorees:

Rabbi Erwin & Agnes Herman Humanitarian Award: Gwen Walden.

GwenWalden-sqGwen Walden is a social change advocate who has worked in the philanthropic and non-profit sector in Los Angeles for over 25 years. Through professional affiliations at several foundations, she has made major contributions to the arts, health, early childhood, and community building in Los Angeles. Gwen has been active in LGBT philanthropy as a founder of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Fund and a board member of Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues and the Astraea Foundation. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Surdna Foundation, the East Bay Community Foundation, and the Breast Cancer Fund.

Harriet Perl Tzedek Award: Evan Wolfson & Marc Solomon.

EvanWolfson-sqEvan Wolfson was founder and president of Freedom to Marry, the campaign that won marriage in the United States, and is widely considered the architect of the movement that led to nationwide victory in 2015. During the 1990’s he served as co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case that launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry, and has participated in numerous gay rights and HIV/AIDS cases. Wolfson earned a B.A. in history from Yale College in 1978; served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a village in Togo, West Africa; and wrote the book, Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry, published by Simon & Schuster in July 2004. In 2012, Wolfson received the Barnard Medal of Distinction alongside President Barack Obama. Having achieved in 2015 the goal he had pursued for 32 years, Wolfson now devotes his time to advising and assisting diverse movements and causes in the U.S. and around the world eager to adapt the model and apply the lessons that made the Freedom to Marry campaign so successful. Wolfson teaches law and social change at Georgetown Law Center, where he has been named a Distinguished Visitor from Practice.

MarcSolomon-sqMarc Solomon is a nationally recognized political strategist and campaign leader with nearly 25 years of experience in campaign management, policy development and execution, communications leadership, and field mobilization. For the past 12 years, Marc has been one of the key architects of the marriage equality movement, as national campaign director for Freedom to Marry. Marc’s 2014 book Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Public—and Won, is described by U.S. News and World Report as “a playbook for progressive causes,” was named a Best Book of 2014 by Slate which called it “the definitive political history of marriage equality.” In addition to his work on marriage equality, Marc has served as a policy adviser to U.S. Senator Danforth in Washington, D.C., a community development strategist in St. Louis, and a researcher for Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. In May 2009, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick presented Marc with the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s prestigious Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award, given yearly to an individual who espouses FDR’s ideals “with respect to democracy, justice, individual freedoms, and citizenship.” In 1999, the Rockefeller Foundation named Marc one of America’s next generation leaders and invited him to participate in its prestigious two-year Next Generation Leadership fellowship program.

Presidents Award: Larry Nathenson.

LarryNathenson-sqLarry Nathenson has been a BCC member since 1983. Larry served on the Board of Directors for nine years, three as Vice President. He has edited our newsletter, G’vanim, for the past decade, and has edited our annual Yizkor Book since 1994. He led a group of BCC members in monthly Shabbat services at a local convalescent home for 20 years. He has chaired our Jewish Learning Committee, coordinated our monthly “books and bagels” group, led an effort to revise our bylaws, and served on a Strategic Planning Committee. In 2012 he compiled a six-part history of BCC for our 40th anniversary, which can be found on the BCC website. Outside BCC, Larry practiced law in Los Angeles for 22 years, and has since served as a volunteer mediator and trainer with Centinela Youth Services, as a Small Claims court and moot court judge, and as an elementary school reading tutor.