August 24, 2018 at 10:02 am PDT | by Troy Masters
Los Angeles Blade and U.S. Bank host Pride In The Sky

The Los Angeles Blade, LA’s weekly LGBT newspaper, is pleased to partner with U.S. Bank to present PRIDE IN THE SKY, an event in celebration of the emergence of DTLA as a core neighborhood for the Los Angeles LGBTQ community, honoring some of the people and organizations playing a key role in making that happen.

PRIDE IN THE SKY will feature a red-carpet mixer and a ceremony honoring the work of these tireless advocates with our first-ever Visibility Awards.

The event is to be held from 6-8 p.m. Saturday on the 70th floor of OUE Skyspace in Downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are sold out.

Hany Haddad (Photo courtesy of Haddad)

Hany Haddad, U.S. Bank Vice President, District Manager at U.S. Bank

Hany has worked with U.S. Bank for more than 14 years and you are likely a beneficiary of his generosity. He has directed nearly $1 million in U.S. Bank donations to various LGBTQ non-profits and causes in the greater Los Angeles area, during that time. Haddad’s work with a diverse range of non-profits is prolific and has earned him this recognition. Haddad has supported LGBTQ organizations and causes for years, including Los Angeles LGBT Center, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and DTLA Proud.

Marc Malkin (Photo courtesy of Malkin)

Marc Malkin, Variety magazine/TV personality, Senior Events and Lifestyle Editor

Marc is one of the most visible faces in Hollywood. You will find him on just about every red carpet in town, asking personal questions of entertainment’s most important personalities, formerly for E! Entertainment and now as an editor at Variety magazine where he will serve it up. He has undergone something of a transformation in more than one sense and has an incredible story to tell. Marc is a benefactor to many LGBTQ non-profits, giving both time and money.

James Wen and West Hollywood Mayor John Duran (Blade photo by Karen Ocamb)

James Wen, transgender activist and member of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board

Wen is one of the most widely respected men in West Hollywood and very humble. He serves on the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board and has helped bring attention to an escalation of violence against trans people and the high suicide rates with which the community grapples. He recently caused a stir at a West Hollywood City Council meeting where he defended the city’s statement requesting removal of Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star against a Trump supporter.

Jennifer Gregg (Photo courtesy of Gregg)

Jennifer Gregg, ONE Archives Foundation, Executive Director 

It’s often the documentarians who play the most vital role in providing historians with information on any community. Jennifer’s work in shaping our legacy is unmatched as she has helped enhance ONE Archives, already the largest repository of LGBTQ  materials in the world. Founded in 1952 as ONE Inc., the publisher of ONE Magazine, ONE Archives Foundation is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States. In 2010, the ONE Archives Foundation deposited its vast collection of LGBTQ historical materials with the USC Libraries. Today, the organization is dedicated to promoting this important resource through diverse activities including educational initiatives, fundraising, and a range of public programs.

Eddie Martinez (Photo courtesy of Martinez)

Eddie Martinez, Mi Centro and Latino Equality Alliance Executive Director

Eddie Martinez is the executive director of Latino Equality Alliance located at Mi Centro LGBTQ Community Center in Boyle Heights. For the past two years under the leadership of Martinez, Latino Equality Alliance has been able to uplift 50 LGBTQ youth leaders and educate over 400 parents in the eastside communities of Los Angeles to promote family acceptance, healthy school climate, and academic success. His 20-year career in public service included the wonderful journey of building community support for the AIDS Monument at Lincoln Park and educating LGBTQ married couples throughout the State of California on social security.

Jeffrey King (Photo courtesy of King)

Jeffrey King, In The Meantime Men’s Group Executive Director

By 1997, the combination drug cocktail was working and the dying and devastation of HIV/AIDS was subsiding. But Jeffrey realized that AIDS wasn’t over, especially for Black gay men, even if the epidemic wasn’t snatching lives every moment, “We came out of the dying and found ourselves living,” King says. “But how do we move forward? And what are we doing with our lives in the meantime?” King brought together an informal collective of Black gay men to wrestle with the dilemma. They realized they could not wait or expect to rely on someone else to save them—they had to act on their own behalf, beyond HIV/AIDS to the health and wellness of Black gay/bi/same-gender-loving men, many of whom bore scars from the homophobia within the Black community while also not being fully embraced by the LGBT community. Jeffrey’s work has contributed measurably since to giving proud expression to a new generation of Black gay men.

Michael Weinstein (center). (Photo courtesy of Weinsten)

Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, President
Michael Weinstein can be credited for saving lives around the world and on a scale few non-profit agencies can imagine. He founded an AIDS hospice at a time when no hospitals would care for “gay cancer” patients and has built it into the world’s largest AIDS organization that literally reaches around the globe and exceeds $1 billion in support. His most recent endeavor is helping to transform Los Angeles’ homeless crisis, particularly in Downtown Los Angeles, renovating the city’s many dilapidated Single Residency Hotels and giving apartments to deserving homeless people. He is noted for his willingness to ask tough questions and his reluctance to always embrace every medical breakthrough without consideration of the full cultural and epidemiological impact.

Johnny Sibilly (Photo courtesy of Sibilly)

Johnny Sibilly, Actor and FX “Pose” cast member

We watched and wept as Billy Porter sang an AIDS cabaret to a young actor playing his lover on FX’s “Pose.”  If you haven’t seen that scene, Johnny plays Perez Costas, the lover of Billy’s character. “Pray Tell,” you will pardon the gushing, but it was a profound moment on an extraordinary television program that deserves everyone’s attention. We suggested an Emmy! But Johnny represents every budding actor who moves to Los Angeles with a dream of making it and so much more. When NYTimes.com recently promoted a cartoon of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in love, Johnny, not a Trump fan, took to Facebook in protest. “Being gay is not a punchline. Being gay is not an insult. The more you perpetuate this idea, the more you add fuel to fire of this toxic masculinity & threatened safety of queer people around the globe. Be better.” It was classically layered Johnny. He is known to push back fast and hard on anti-trans and anti-blackness narratives online. He is a protector of the ones he loves.

Oliver Alpuche (Photo courtesy of Alpuche)

Oliver Luke Alpuche, DTLA entrepreneur and DTLA Proud founder

The man of the moment is busy transforming Los Angeles’ Downtown scene. He founded Redline, DTLA’s popular LGBTQ bar and helped launch the visibility of the community downtown into the stratosphere. He recognized the power of the community and the need for expression and so founded DTLA Proud, which has become one of the region’s most dynamic Pride celebrations. This weekend the event will attract tens of thousands and proceeds from the sale of tickets will help establish a new LGBTQ Center for Downtown.

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (Photo courtesy of GMCLA)

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is the leading Gay Men’s Chorus in the world and under the leadership of Jonathan Weedman, its visibility has soared. In October, the chorus welcomes Mexico City’s Gay Men’s Chorus to celebrate a new choral offering, Dos Coros Uno Voz. The work of the Chorus goes way beyond Los Angeles, with a robust outreach to area high schools and a new program to nations abroad. Its outreach work has spanned the decades of the AIDS crisis to the age of Resistance.

Jewel Thais-Williams (Photo courtesy of Thais-Williams)

Jewel Thais-Williams, Activist, LGBT community pioneer, founder of Catch One and director of the Netflix documentary, Catch One will receive a special Editor’s Award

Jewel is a legend in Los Angeles. Her work in the community covers the gamut. She helped found the world’s first AIDS Service Organization, focusing on the needs of people of all colors. Jewel has been a leader, a hero, and a visionary and an advocate for decades, linking the LGBT African-American community to organizations such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and her alma mater, UCLA. You could call her the mother of all of us but she is almost certainly regarded as the mother of nightlife in LA, creating a racially diverse nightclub that dominated this town.

Thais-Williams likes to say that she spent the last 40+ years at Catch One “partying.” Approaching 79, Jewel says her greatest joy is her service to her community. “But there is still a lot of work to do. Remember to always reach out to those in need.”

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