What: “Rise” — Human Rights Campaign's 21st annual gala
Where: Marriott Marquis
The scoop: “Equality for all” was the theme of the night at the Human Rights Campaign's 21st Annual Gala, “Rise,” where nearly 800 Houstonians gathered to show support for the organization and raise funds to end discrimination. Tri-Chairs Josh Beasly, Krystal Gillam, and Gary Wilson worked tirelessly filling the room with HRC supporters, business leaders, TV personalities, politicians, as well as 2018 political candidates. Emotional videos and passionate speeches were given during the three-course meal and auction.
The Visibility Award was presented to Karamo Brown, a TV personality most known for being the culture expert in Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye. Presenting Brown with the award was Jussie Smollett, known for his groundbreaking role as tortured pop star, Jamal Lyon in the mega-hit television series Empire.
BBVA Compass, (the event's presenting sponsor) announced that they would return again as 2019 sponsors — which gained a loud roaring cheer from the audience. Jenni Tranweaver, founder of Jenni’s Noodle House (a major sponsor of the event), offered uplifting remarks.
Dozens of silent auction items filled the gallery outside the ballroom for the cocktail hour and paddles were up in full force during the live auctions. Comedian Dana Goldberg roused the crowd with topical humor and kept the auction lively and boisterous. Artist Sebastien “Mr. D” Boilleau (signature style known as “Canpressionism“) donated a colorful, rainbow-inspired, 6-foot painting — which sold for a hefty $11,500 price tag. After the dinner and the presentations, the DJ spun beats for a fun dance party while the champagne was freely flowing.
Who: Mayor Sylvester Turner, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Al Green, Gary Tinterow, Harris County Democratic chair Lillie Schechter, HRC President Chad Griffin, Judge Steven Kirkland, Andy Cerota, Mike Crowsen, Ryan Levy, Jenni and Scott Tranweaver, Rep. Sarah Davis, Judge Steve Kirkland, Beau Miller, Januari Leo, Paul-David Van Atta, Mark Montondon, Fran Watson, Jim Kovach, Derrick Shore, Tres Brown, Eddie Ponce, Andi Chambers, Ricardo Guajardo, Steven Wagner, Clayton Katz, Will Goldberg, Kelly and Marie Hejtmancik, Eric Lewis, Steven Scales.