GLAA of Washington, DC, is pleased to announce its 2018 Distinguished Service Award recipients. GLAA presents awards to local individuals and organizations that have served the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the national capital area. The awards will be presented at GLAA’s 47th Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 1904 14th Street, NW (at T Street). Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at www.glaa.org/anniversary [glaa.org] or by calling John Becker at 920-265-6023. A range of donor levels is also available.
GLAA’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:
▪ Check It Enterprises
▪ Councilmember Mary Cheh
▪ Executive Director Don Blanchon, Whitman-Walker Health
Check It Enterprises, formerly known as the Check It Gang, started its journey over ten years ago as a group of young people who banded together as a street gang after being bullied and attacked for their LGBTQ identities. As in most cases, people who are oppressed and traumatized often exhibit behaviors that were forced upon them as victims. They received nothing but negative press until they met mentor Ron Moten five years ago, who showed them another way and never gave up on them. The leaders of Check It would go on to start a clothing line and five years later open their own business in Historic Anacostia where they make and sell clothes, and for which they raised $50,000 in remodeling costs. They also use the building as a safe haven and conduct activities and programing for LGBTQ youth and young adults. Check It is also the subject of an award-winning documentary of the same name.
Councilmember Mary Cheh has served on the Council of the District of Columbia since 2007 and is currently the Chair of the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. Cheh authored the Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013 and the Death with Dignity Act of 2015 and has advocated for legislation to protect the environment, improve the health of District residents, combat homelessness, punish bias crimes against homeless individuals, and eliminate the statute of limitations for the prosecution of sexual assault. She has fought tirelessly alongside community advocates on LGBTQ issues, particularly those relating to homeless LGBTQ youth. Councilmember Cheh supports legislation that would require persons subject to temporary protective orders to turn over their guns, and a bill to create a High Risk Team in DC, a model which has been successful in other jurisdictions in preventing domestic violence homicide.
Mr. Don Blanchon, Chief Executive Officer of Whitman-Walker Health, has been successful in supporting Whitman-Walker’s commitment to provide an affirming and safe healthcare environment to gender and sexual minorities, and other marginalized communities in the District. Under his eleven years of leadership Whitman-Walker has continued to emphasize the importance of treating the whole person, further integrating the role of advocacy and legal intervention in care. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, he spent nine years with Schaller Anderson, a national health care management and consulting firm specializing in public-sector programs. During that time, he held positions of increasing authority, including CFO and CEO of Maryland Physicians Care, a $325 million multi-product health plan owned by four Maryland-based non-profit community health systems. From 2004 to 2006, Blanchon served as Vice President for Medicaid and Medicare programs for Schaller Anderson. He also served as Vice President for strategic planning for Health Services for Children with Special Needs, a specialty health plan in Washington, DC. He also spent five years as a budget examiner in the executive office of the president at the federal Office of Management and Budget.
A list of previous award winners can be found on the GLAA website at http://glaa.org/about/resources/awards-history/ [glaa.org].
Founded in 1971, GLAA is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of LGBTQ people in the Nation’s Capital. GLAA lobbies the DC Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of LGBTQ families. GLAA remains the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.