GLAA Announces 2019 Distinguished Service Awards

Lost Society

GLAA of Washington, DC, is pleased to announce its 2019 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 48th Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Lost Society at 2001 14th Street, NW (14th and U). Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at or by calling John Becker at 920-265-6023. A range of donor levels is also available.

GLAA’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:

▪ Center Global
▪ Compassion & Choices
▪ Diego Miguel Sanchez, APR 

Center Global, a program of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, began in 2012 under the guidance of its mission-driven co-founders, Matt Corso and Eric Scharf. As of 2019, Center Global has supported nearly 300 asylum-seekers, asylees, and refugees through their respective asylum processes, from nations on the African continent, Eastern Europe, Russia, the former Soviet bloc, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. The Center Global support model is unique in the U.S. Its mission is to provide access to healthcare, legal assistance, financial support, and most importantly, a safe, LGBTQ peer community that’s often unattainable in D.C.-area diasporas. Highlights of Center Global’s program include its asylum case-management services; monthly support dinner and volunteers meeting; community and Capitol Hill education and outreach initiatives; partnerships with the Human Rights Campaign and D.C.-area social support and asylum organizations; and the annual May fundraising reception. Center Global is a volunteer-staffed program, led by its executive committee (Tom Sommers, Chair and Eric Scharf, Vice Chair), under the DC Center’s administrative umbrella. 

Compassion & Choices led the lobbying for the D.C. Death with Dignity Act of 2016, which became law in 2017. Compassion & Choices envisions a society that affirms life and accepts the inevitability of death, embraces expanded options for compassionate dying, and empowers people to choose end-of-life care that reflects their values, priorities, and beliefs. Across the nation, it works to ensure that healthcare providers honor and enable patients’ decisions about their care. It works in communities, state legislatures, Congress, courts and medical settings to educate the public about the importance of documenting end-of-life values and priorities and about the full range of available options; empowers individuals with options, information and advice for guiding their care and engaging with providers; advocates for expanded choices, secure and ready access to them and improved medical practice that puts patients first and values quality of life in treatment plans for terminal illness; and defends existing end-of-life options from efforts to restrict access.

Diego Miguel Sanchez, APR is Director of Advocacy, Policy & Partnerships for PFLAG National. Diego was Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Barney Frank until his retirement, historically the first openly transgender senior legislative staffer on Capitol Hill. He testified before Congress in the first Transgender Discrimination Hearing and was the first openly trans DNC Platform Committee appointee. Diego was Director of Public Relations and External Affairs at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and AIDS Action Council (DC). Previously, he was Director of TransHealth/LGBT Health Access Project at JRI Health in Boston, leading the nation’s only government-funded trans healthcare program. Diego’s 20 award-winning years in global public relations, marketing, and diversity management globally were at Fortune 500s — The Coca-Cola Company, Holiday Inn Worldwide, ITT Sheraton, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide after Burson-Marsteller/NY, then the world’s largest public relations firm. He’s among 100 Most Powerful Latino/s in Corporate America, LGBT Latino Hero 100 most powerful Latino/s (Poderometro), Out 100 and Inaugural Trans 100. A founding member of GenIUSS, Diego was “Best Congressional Staffer” by Q Street. Diego earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a major in Public Relations from the University of Georgia and serves on the Journalism Alumni Advisory Board and is a member of G-Club, the University’s Letterman Club (only male earned via women’s tennis team). Diego is a Senior Fellow of UMass Boston in the College of Management.

A list of previous award winners can be found on the GLAA website at [].

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 lesbian and gay civil rights organization.



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