The 22st Annual National LGBTQ Task Force Gala
Miami Celebration Shines Bright with Media Stars

The National LGBTQ Task Force's Miami Gala stood for the freedom of the press while it honored journalists Robin Roberts and Sam Champion, and raised over $630,000 dollars to fight for LGBTQ rights.

Media stars Robin Roberts and Sam Champion were presented with the Task Force's National Leadership Awards for their work to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and the issues that affect their lives every day. Both stressed how journalism is the foundation of a thriving democracy while applauding the Task Force for its grassroots work that engages the LGBTQ community nationally and locally in South Florida.

The two were both groundbreakers when they came out as gay while working in the national media spotlights. Roberts related how she interviewed President Obama about changing his views on marriage equality and what a great, historic moment that was for her and the country. "I am grateful that we live in a country that embraces us and grateful for the Task Force that works on the front lines," said Robin Roberts.

(story continues below...)

Guests seated and watching Rea Carey speak in the ballroom

Bacardi bar ready to serve drinks

National honorees, Robin Roberts and Sam Champion, posing for photos with gala chair, Josue Santiago, and
Task Force Executive Director, Rea Carey

Gala committee member, Candelario Saldana, posing with an original work of art by Claudia Echeverria

Seth Gadinsky and Victor Diaz-Herman take the stage

Kimberley Locke performing a song from the movie, "The Greatest Showman"

Wood Kinnard presenting the Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award to Charles Million and Tim Nardi

Josue Santiago and Matt Dzwonkiewicz posing with National Leadership Award recipients, Sam Champion and Robin Roberts

Gala host, Jai Rodriguez, performing "The Greatest Show"

Board member, Liebe Gadinsky, leading gala committee members on stage during the closing number, "From Now On"

National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey kicked off the evening: "To speak the truth, to be committed to the facts, to uphold the First Amendment of the Constitution, including freedom of the press, is a noble act indeed. That journalists, those of you in the media, are being attacked and undermined by the highest office in our land, is a national disgrace. It is a hallmark of authoritarian governments, and a direct assault on democracy." While these times are challenging, Carey noted the Task Force's long history, resiliency, and character prepares it for the current struggle and for taking on the issues that matter to LGBTQ voters.

The Gala emcee was Jai Rodriguez, an American actor and musician best known as the culture guide on the Bravo network's Emmy-winning American reality television program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. "American Idol" Season 2's runner-up Kimberley Locke also performed.

Longtime South Florida activists and leaders Tim Nardi and Charles Million received the 2018 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award. The Gala was presented by Wells Fargo. Community leader Josue Santiago served as Chair of the Gala for the second consecutive year. The money raised benefits the Task Force to advance LGBTQ rights across the country and a portion of the Gala and the Task Force's Winter Party celebration benefits The Miami Foundation's work funding LGBTQ projects in the Miami area.