Raquel Willis
Raquel Willis, Black transgender activist, writer and media strategist

NYC Pride, the official producer of New York City’s Pride events, is proud to announce the 2020 Human Rights Conference.

This virtual conversation, focused on activism and issues impacting the community

The virtual conference will also include a fireside chat, featuring Ashlee Marie Preston and Jonathan Van Ness. Preston, who was recently announced as co-host of NYC Pride’s Rally on June 26th, is an award-winning media personality, cultural commentator, social impact strategist, political analyst and civil rights activist.

Van Ness is an Emmy-nominated television personality, New York Times best-selling author, podcaster, and hairstylist to the stars. They star on Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning reboot series “Queer Eye,” where they shine as the show’s groomer, hair guru and self-care advocate.

“I am so looking forward to speaking with Ashlee, and discussing the ways that we can further the Black Lives Matter Movement and LGBTQ+ equality, especially Trans equality.” said Van Ness.

The first Human Rights Conference took place in June 2018. The goal of the event has always been to create a safe space where members of the LGBTQIA+ community could gather to educate one another and engage in necessary conversations.

“As a queer, black woman I center my work around visibility and inclusion. It is an honor to have had the opportunity to work with an array of leaders that speak to the various parts of our community,” said Samantha Marie Johnson, NYC Pride Event Manager. “NYC Pride is here to provide the platform to queer people of color, to black trans women, to the voices of the most disenfranchised members of the LGBTQIA+ community because it was those people that started the movement.”

“Now more than ever, the world needs champions and advocates against discrimination and racism. At Mastercard, we are committed to equal opportunity and to drive change,” said Cheryl Guerin, Executive Vice President of North America Marketing and Communications for Mastercard, the Official Payment Partner for NYC Pride. “While the physical celebration of NYC Pride is different this year, the spirit of Pride and equality has never been more significant. It is critical that we work together with our partners and the community, to elevate the voices that need to be heard and be a driver of equality and inclusion.”

Example of panels include:

HEALTH Panel: Impacting Our Communities: COVID 19

LGBTQ Communities of Color and Immigrants have been especially impacted by the effects of COVID 19. As the city begins to re-open, this panel will discuss the disparities and inequities that LGBTQ Communities of Color and Immigrants faced and how we move forward in a more equitable way.

Moderator: Daniel Reyes, Chief Program Officer, The LGBT Center

Panelists: Dr. Darien Sutton-Ramsey MD MBA | Stephen Karpiak, PhD, GMHC | J. Maurice McCants-Pearsall, Director of HIV & Health Equity programs, Human Rights Campaign


Anti-Trans Violence and the Role of Guns

curated by  Everytown for Gun Safety

Everytown for Gun Safety, National Center for Transgender Equality and Translatin@ Coalition are partnering together to talk about the effects of gun violence on the trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community, and pointing out the disparity for Black community members. The goal of this session is to discuss the data, what we know, what we don’t know, and give a call to action for folks to support the trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community.

Moderator: Keni Nooner, Partnerships Manager, Everytown for Gun Safety

Panelists: Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Deputy Executive Director for Policy & Action, National Center for Transgender Equality | Aryah Lester, Deputy Director, Transgender Strategy Center | Everett Redente, Organizing Manager, Everytown for Gun Safety | Bamby Salcedo, Founder of Translatin@ Coalition


State of the LGBTQIA+ Media

Visibility matters. What people see on TV, film, video games, online, and read in newspapers and news outlets has a huge impact in how they treat each other and the decisions made in courtrooms, Churches, schoolyards, and the ballot box.

Moderator: Brooke Sopelsa, Editorial Director, NBC Out

Panelists: Mike Doyle, Partner & President, North America, Ketchum | Monica Trasandes, Director of Spanish-Language and Latinx Media, GLAAD | Raquel Willis, Black transgender activist, writer and media strategist

“As we honor the Stonewall Riots for another year, it’s important for us to ground ourselves in the current moment of uprisings against white supremacy, “ said  Raquel Willis. “Black, queer and transgender communities and leadership have been undervalued and underestimated for too long in the LGBTQ+ community. We have the opportunity to imagine a new way forward; let’s use this year’s Human Rights Conference to do just that.”

Be The Change: Driving Intersectional Equality and Inclusion (Mastercard Panel)

In light of recent events, the world is now more than ever uniting to champion advocacy and activism. As we celebrate Pride month, our focus can no longer be on acceptance alone, rather we must stand against racism and be a driver of change and equality. Mastercard, partners and community members will come together for a powerful dialogue on how we can elevate the voices that need to be heard and drive real-action to foster intersectional equality within the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities together.

Moderator: Tommy DiDario, TV Host and Lifestyle Contributor

Panelists: Randall Tucker, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Mastercard | Dawn Ennis, Managing Editor of Outsports.com | Nick Adams, Director of Transgender Media & Representation at GLAAD | Peppermint, Actress and Trans Advocate


Also recently announced were new additions to the incredible roster of talent slated for the NYC Pride Special Broadcast Event that will air on WABC Channel 7 on Sunday, June 28th at 12pm EDT. Known as one of the greatest male vocalists, songwriters and composers of his generation, New York-born Rufus Wainwright will perform one of his greatest hits. Also joining the line-up is DJ duo Coco & Breezy who spun in Times Square at the WorldPride Closing Ceremony in 2019, and artist, activist and R&B/Soul singer Tangina Stone.

Free registration for the Human Rights Conference is now available at https://nycpridehrc2020.eventbrite.com
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