MEDIA ADVISORY: San Diego Human Dignity Foundation Honors LGBT Advocates Making A Difference in San Diego and Around the World

MEDIA ADVISORY: San Diego Human Dignity Foundation Honors LGBT Advocates Making A Difference in San Diego and Around the World
November, 2015 Client News
San Diego Human Dignity Foundation will honor three LGBT advocates at its second annual Aston-Brooks Awards Gala:
  • Kurt Cunningham (posthumously) – Richard Geyser Community Leadership Award. Cunningham died in early October 2015, and is the only local honoree. Cunningham was a community activist who dedicated much of his adult life toward the betterment of the San Diego LGBTQ and HIV communities. Throughout his career, he worked closely with Imperial Court de San Diego, Trevor Project and The Center, with his most recent post being the LGBT Outreach Liaison for Mental Health America (MHA) of San Diego County. In this position, he advocated for mental health sensitivity and workplace/school trainings to create safe spaces for LGBTQ employees and students. Additionally, he had stepped up to the task of co-producing the 2016 Y.E.S. San Diego LGBTQ youth conference, a project supported, through grants and fiscal agency, by SDHDF. Nicole Murray-Ramirez will be accepting the award on behalf of Kurt Cunningham.
  • Wilson Cruz – Lincoln Aston Public Service Award. (He played the critically acclaimed role of “Angel” on Broadway of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning musical “RENT;” On the frontlines of LGBT advocacy, Cruz recently served as the director of entertainment industry partnerships and national spokesperson for GLAAD, the nation’s leading LGBT media advocacy organization. Cruz is receiving the Lincoln Aston Public Service Award.)
  • Archbishop Rev. Carl Bean – Sunshine Brooks HIV/AIDS Advocacy Award.  As a young singer, Carl Bean brought churches to their feet and dance floors to their knees. From 1964 to 1972, he was the lead vocalist for the Alex Bradford Singers; his hit Motown single “I Was Born This Way” was the first gay liberation dance club hit. Bean founded the Unity Fellowship Church of Christ in Los Angeles in 1982 for gay, lesbian, and transgendered African Americans. Rev. Gerald Green will be accepting the award on behalf of Archbishop Rev. Carl Bean.
Each of the awards carries a $5,000 grant from The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation to the LGBT/HIV charity chosen by the award recipient or their designate. The charities selected will be announced at the Aston-Brooks Awards Gala.

This second annual fundraiser is a black-tie event where guests will enjoy a hosted cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, cabaret show, live VIP entertainment featuring Broadway legend Andrea McArdle and the awards ceremony.

Proceeds benefit the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, one of the nation’s largest LGBT community foundations benefiting the local LGBT community for nearly 20 years.

Ticket and event information can be found here, and tickets will be available to purchase at the door.

Join the conversation via social media using #AstonBrooks2015.

WHERE: The Hilton San Diego Resort and Spa, 1775 E. Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 7 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

  • 6 p.m. – Hosted Premium Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction
  • 7 p.m. – Dinner, Awards, Entertainment

BEST TIME TO COVER: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.


  • John Brown, executive director, San Diego Human Dignity Foundation
  • Wilson Cruz, actor and activist, Lincoln Aston Public Service Award recipient
  • Rev. Gerald Green, accepting Sunshine Brooks HIV/AIDS Advocacy Award on behalf of Archbishop Rev. Carl Bean
  • Nicole Murray-Ramirez, accepting Richard Geyser Community Leadership Award on behalf of Kurt Cunningham
  • Hosted cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, cabaret show and awards ceremony
  • VIP entertainment, featuring Broadway legend, Andrea McArdle
  • Scheduled to appear: Bonnie Dumanis, Kevin Beiser and Todd Gloria


  • The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation supports and advocates for equality and LGBT causes, from youth to seniors to the arts to AIDS/HIV and more.
  • Since 1996, SDHDF has granted more than $5 million in grants to address the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • To date in 2015, the foundation has given more than $750,000 to 50 organizations.
  • LGBT teens are two or three times more likely to attempt suicide than other teens.
  • In 2015 alone, in San Diego there have been four trans teens who lost their lives to suicide. Local youth programs need funding and awareness support so youth and their families can seek help.
  • San Diego has the 3rd highest AIDS case rate in the state of California.
  • According to the Human Health and Services Agency, there are nearly 3,200 people living in San Diego County who are HIV-positive and unaware of their status.
  • San Diego has the 2nd largest percentage, second to the Bay Area, of LGBT same sex coupled households, and one in 10 of these households contain a senior 65 or older.
  • Seniors also fear discrimination and animosity at traditional senior centers, retirement communities and nursing homes. Ageism from within the LGBT community remains a stubborn and disturbing problem.
  • SDHDF will celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2016.

About the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation

The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation (SDHDF) is the sole community foundation in the San Diego region dedicated to the benefit of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. SDHDF funds programs and projects that promote equal treatment, tolerance, wellness, well-being, and above all else, human dignity. We work to strengthen LGBT organizations and leadership. We nurture philanthropic giving to support LGBT people and address important issues such as aging, arts and culture, health and wellness, youth and families, and civil rights. For more information, visit Connect on Facebook and Twitter.