The honorees at TCC's 9th Annual Visionary Party: the Silver Jubilee have each demonstrated outstanding leadership by and for Connecticut's LGBTQ community. It is our pleasure to recognize their careers and passion for community at this year's Visionary Party.
Read more about our honorees below!
This year the Commitment to Service Award has been re-named the Marge Foster Commitment to Service Award. Marge Foster was a volunteer at Triangle Community Center and other organizations supporting the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV/AIDS. She exemplified service at its very best, demonstrating compassion and dedication for the causes she supported and the people who needed her help. It is fitting that this year, the Marge Foster Commitment to Service Award is being awarded to Christopher Spiegelman. Christopher Spiegelman served as a volunteer here at Triangle Community Center, and later as a board member, and then as President of our Board of Directors at a critical time in TCC's history, creating the foundation for staff positions here, and building a vision for collaboration with outside agencies that enables TCC to change lives for the better.
The Legacy Award is a new award honoring individuals playing a decisive role in the founding of Triangle Community Center. On the 25th anniversary of Triangle Community Center's founding, we found it fitting to award our founding members with this honor. The founding board members at TCC who will receive the Legacy Award on behalf of TCC's founding members are Aldis Alexander, Meg Bachtel, Carol Heinzelman, and Brian Smith. These individuals created a safe space for Fairfield County's LGBTQ community, founding one of the first suburban LGBTQ community centers in the United States. The process was a labor of love. TCC started in living rooms and warehouses, with social events and "friend-raisers" taking place around the clock, building a foundation for TCC that would last for over two decades. Out of a time of little acceptance for the LGBTQ community, these people from different walks of life forged a vision for a community center that still exists today.
The Community Champion Award is a new award recognizing individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service championing the LGBTQ community in our halls of power and our workplaces. It is our pleasure to award Lori Pelletier with this honor. Lori Pelletier is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, Connecticut's largest organized labor organization. Lori works for people who work for a living. Among the causes Lori fights for is LGBTQ protections in the workplace, access to health care, and a seat at the table for working people. Through her leadership, working people in Connecticut were able to secure minimum wage increases and paid sick leave. Lori is the first openly-LGBTQ person to lead a statewide AFL-CIO organization, and is an executive officer of Pride At Work, a labor organization promoting workplace fairness and inclusion for LGBTQ persons in the workplace.
The Volunteer of the Year award is a new award presented to an individual who has committed time and energy to ensuring Triangle Community Center is a well run and welcoming space with thoughtful programming. This year, the Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented to Shawnee Estes. Shawnee recently moved to Connecticut from Texas. She could have invested her time anywhere, but chose to apply her creative talents here at Triangle Community Center. She helped to create programs supporting older adults, and is a staple of our volunteer corps.
The Community Partner of the Year Award is a new award presented to a business or organization that has partnered with Triangle Community Center and has built a welcoming and supportive climate for LGBTQ persons. General Electric is being awarded the Community Partner of the Year designation for its partnership that is has built with Triangle Community Center. In recent years, General Electric has been an outspoken leader in the corporate world for LGBTQ equality, extending benefits to its LGBTQ employees ahead of the national curve, and fostering a work environment where its individuals can lead healthy and authentic lives, like. It is an inclusive workplace where their leadership makes national headlines challenging anti-equality measures and working around the world to support its LGBTQ employees. Locally, it supports organizations like Triangle Community Center that make a direct and positive difference in peoples' lives. TCC works with many GE employees Matthew Brooks and Antonio Fernandez (pictured above, left and right respectively).