Utah Pride Center seeks nominations for annual awards

The Utah Pride Center is seeking nominations for the Dr. Kristen Ries Community Service Award and the Pete Suazo Political Action Award. The awards recipients will be recognized at the 2012 Utah Pride Festival, which is themed Changing Hearts and Lives. Nominations are due by March 3 and can be made at utahpridefestival.org or by sending an email to awards@utahpridefestival.org.

The Dr. Kristen Ries Community Service Award was established in 1987 and was presented to Ries for her humanitarian efforts in dealing with the AIDS crisis. The award recognizes outstanding service to the queer community in Utah and is given to people who demonstrate a legacy of service and like Ries, “exemplify everything that the award has stood for: compassion, leadership and courage.” The recipient is chosen by past winners of the award. Recent winners include Stan Penfold, Doug Fadel, Rep. Jackie Biskupski, Doug Wortham, Luci Malin, Jane and Tami Marquardt , Walter Larrabee, Mark Swonson and Michael Aaron.

The Pete Suazo Political Action Award was established in 2002 to honor Sen. Pet Suazo’s tireless attempts to pass hate-crimes legislation Utah. The award is presented to an elected official who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to equal rights for the queer community. The recipient is chosen by a committee including leaders of Equality Utah, Stonewall Democrats, Log Cabin Republicans, Human Rights Campaign and the Utah Pride Center. Past recipients include Mayor Rocky Anderson, Rep. David Litvak, Sen. Karen Hale, Mark Shurtleff , Paula Julander, Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., Rep. Christine Johnson and Mayor Ralph Becker.

Award recipients will be recognized during the Utah Pride Festival’s annual Grand Marshal Reception and Awards Celebration, which kicks off the 2012 Utah Pride Festival celebration on Friday, June 1. Recipients will also be honored at the annual Utah Pride Parade on Sunday, June 3.

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