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Castroville restauranteur joins Equality Texas board
QSanAntonio.com, September 9, 2011

It was announced this week that Gary Carter, who owns the Castroville Cafe, will join the Equality Texas and the Equality Texas Foundation board of directors.

Carter is a native of Georgia, but a longtime resident of South Texas. He has served as president and vice president of the Castroville Area Chamber of Commerce.

For the past several years Carter has been one of the driving forces behind the success of Equality Texas' Spirit of Texas Brunch held annually in San Antonio.

In the announcement released by Equality Texas, Carter commented, "I am proud of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness in San Antonio of the important work being done by Equality Texas. I look forward to continuing those efforts as a board member."

Two other board member joined the Equality Texas Board. The first is Chris Bell from Houston, who in 2006 ran for governor of Texas against Rick Perry. "I have always been an advocate for equality and I'm excited to join the organization doing the most to make it a reality in Texas," Chris said upon his appointment to the board.

The other new Equality Texas board member is Wade Hyde who is also joining the board of the Equality Texas Foundation. His background spans over two decades of diversified marketing, public relations, customer relations, and technology communications experience working with nationally-recognized companies and organizations.

In related news, Equality Texas announced that their executive director, Dennis Coleman, was named to the Equality Federation board of directors at their annual meeting last month in Madison, Wisconsin. The Equality Federation is a national alliance of state-based advocacy organizations.

Federation Executive Director Rebecca Isaacs said, "We are very excited to welcome Dennis Coleman to the Equality Federation Board. His demonstrated leadership in Texas will be a great asset to the Federation as we press for equality for LGBT people in all 50 states."

Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch, Pearl Stable, May 15, 2011
Photos by QSanAntonio.com, May 16, 2011
Equality Texas announced that their fifth annual Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 15 at Pearl Stable earned about $50,000 for the Austin-based advocacy group. High profile VIPs, including Mayor Julian Castro and Houston Mayor Annise Parker, were among those attending the fundraiser. (Click here for more photos.)

Equality Texas: A fight against lingering hatred
San Antonio Express-News, May 16, 2011
Today's youth are more accepting of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people, or GLBT, than older generations, but hatred and harassment are still alive and well and must be fought. That was the message at a Sunday luncheon for Equality Texas, an Austin-based nonprofit that advocates the elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Annise Parker to speak at Spirit of Texas, Rackspace to be honored
QSanAntonio.com, May 7, 2011

Houston Mayor Annise Parker will be in San Antonio on May 15 to speak at the fifth annual Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch at the Pearl Stable. Additionally, San Antonio tech company Rackspace will be honored at the event with the Advocate Award.

Rackspace started in 1998 in San Antonio offering web hosting services and since has grown to serve more than 130,000 customers, including over 110,000 cloud computing customers. "Our committee chose to honor Rackspace with the Advocate Award for their commitment to equality and diversity in the workplace by providing benefits for domestic partners," said Richard Farias, Spirit of Texas co-chair.

Farias added that Amy and David Truong, the parents of bullying victim Asher Brown, have decided to attend and say a few words about their son and about "Asher's Law," the anti-bullying bill that is currently working its way through the Texas Legislature.

Other luminaries who will be at the brunch include Reynaldo Anaya Valencia, the associate dean of the St. Mary's University School of Law, who will receive the Becky Cross Anchor Award, and Rev. Deborah L. Johnson, the founding minister and president of Inner Light Ministries, who will give the keynote address. (See related stories below.)

The brunch also features live music by the Joe Caruso Trio and vocals and piano by Stacey Milton and Wayne Miller. Cynthia Lee will be the emcee for the event. This also is a silent and live auction.

St. Mary's law school dean to be honored by Equality Texas
QSanAntonio.com, April 23, 2011

Reynaldo Anaya Valencia, the associate dean of the St. Mary's University School of Law, will be honored by Equality Texas on May 15 at its annual Spirit of Texas Brunch. Valencia will receive the Becky Cross Anchor Award.

Valencia's rise from humble origins, he is the son and grandson of migrant farmworkers, is an American success story. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stanford University and his law degree at Harvard. He also served as a White House Fellow during the second term of President Bill Clinton.

Last year Valencia was elected to the Harvard Alumni Association Board of Directors. Before coming to St. Mary's he taught at Harvard, Texas Tech University School of Law and Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.

At St. Marys, Valencia chairs the Chicano Civil Right Committee. He teaches corporate and bankruptcy law, gender discrimination and race and racism in U.S. law.

Valencia started the Minority Pre-Law Symposium, a program that invites students from around Texas to visit St. Mary's to get an introduction to law school. He was founding director of the university's Center for Latina/Latino Legal Studies .

In addition to his work at St. Mary's Valencia is on the State Bar of Texas Gender Fairness Task Force and the Ethics Committee of Christus Santa Rosa Hospital. He also co-authored the book, “Mexican Americans and the Law: ¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!”

The Anchor Award is named after San Antonio transgender activist Becky Cross who died in 2006 and is given annually to local activists who have exhibited a strong advocacy for equal rights.

Rev. Deborah L. Johnson is keynote for Spirit of Texas brunch
QSanAntonio.com, April 2, 2011

Equality Texas announced this week that Rev. Deborah L. Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 15 at the Pearl Stable.

Rev. Johnson is the founding minister and president of Inner Light Ministries, an omnifaith outreach ministry dedicated to teaching the practical application of universal spiritual principles to all of life’s circumstances.

Johnson is founder and president of The Motivational Institute, an organizational development consulting firm specializing in cultural diversity serving the public, private, and non-profit sectors. As a dynamic public speaker, she is known for her ability to bring clarity to complex and emotionally charged issues.

A life-long social justice activist, Rev. Johnson was a successful participant in two landmark cases in California – one set precedent for the inclusion of sexual orientation in the state’s Civil Rights Bill, the other defeated the challenge to legalizing domestic partnerships. A voice for compassion, equality, and reconciliation, Johnson's primary focus has been on coalition building, conflict resolution, public policy development, and cultural sensitivity awareness.

Reverend Johnson holds a BA in economics from USC, an MBA from UCLA, and a ministerial degree from the Holmes Institute.

The brunch also will feature live music by the Joe Caruso Trio and vocals and piano by Stacey Milton and Wayne Miller. Cynthia Lee will be the emcee for the event

Photos: Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Brunch, May 16, 2010, Pearl Stable

San Antonio Spirit of Texas awards announced
QSanAntonio.com, May 8, 2010

Equality Texas this week announced that Police Chief William McManus and San Antonio activist Thomas G. Duckworth will be honored at the Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 16 at the Pearl Stable.

The Advocate Award will be presented to San Antonio Chief of Police William P. McManus.
McManus became the Chief of Police of the San Antonio Police Department on April 17, 2006, having previously served as Chief of Police of the Minneapolis Police Department and the Dayton, Ohio Police Department.

Chief McManus started his law enforcement career in 1975 when he joined the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. In 1998, he was promoted to Commander of the First District, and after that year he was promoted to the position of Assistant Chief, a position he held until 2001, when he retired from the Metropolitan police and became Chief of the Dayton police.

As Chief of Police in San Antonio, McManus has worked to institute policies that foster better understanding and treatment of the gay community. McManus has incorporated GLBT sensitivity training into SAPD cadet training, met with community groups, and sought to hire more minorities. In 2007, the Chief was Grand Marshall of the San Antonio Gay Pride Parade.

Duckworth, a long-time activist and native of Carthage, Texas, will receive the 2010 Becky Cross Anchor Award. Duckworth has worked with, and been a major donor to, countless GLBT causes.

In 1989, he became a member of the San Antonio Da Vinci Circle, a group that helped create the San Antonio Gay and Lesbian Community Center, later called the Diversity Center. In 1990, he was active with the San Antonio AIDS Foundation and later joined the Red Ribbon Committee, a group that raises funds for that organization.

Duckworth became a member of the Board of ARTS San Antonio where he worked to add sexual identity to the organization’s non-discrimination clause. In 2005, he was a major supporter and donor to the No Nonsense in November campaign that sought to defeat the discriminatory anti-marriage amendment to the Texas constitution.

Duckworth is currently involved with Equality Texas, the Stonewall Democrats, and the Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network. He is a supporter of Stand Out, the first gay and lesbian organization at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Equality Texas Merry Martini Mixer, January 16, 2010
Photos copyright Antonia Padilla

Hook ‘em
By Kate Clinton, QSanAntonio.com, May 30, 2009

Despite threats of secession from Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Lone Star State was still connected to the mainland when I visited San Antonio to speak to the Equality Texas folks. I called down the ghosts of Ann Richards and Molly Ivins to protect me on my journey. They showed me a really good time.

The co-chair of the brunch event, Barbara del Amo met me at baggage claim with a big smile and a big purple sign that read K8. She took me out to the curb where Tex, her partner of 28 years was waiting. Since I'd been delayed in Dallas - I was detained for not wearing teabags as accessories - we went almost immediately to a donor reception at the lovely Gallery Vetro on the Riverwalk in San Antonio. I chatted with lots of wonderful, big spirited Texans who have been legislating, organizing and partying for equal rights in Texas for years. I tried not to knock over any of the gorgeous hand-blown glass creations as I schmoozed.

A couple of the women I spoke to apologized for leaving early to go to another event in town. When I heard where they were going, I got Barbara and Tex to take me there after the reception.

For years Graciela Sancehz has been trying to get my partner Urvashi and me to come visit the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center that she founded. That evening they were honoring the work of Gloria Anzaldua, a writer and cultural theorist who died five years ago. I was thrilled to be able to finally attend. In a magnificent, colorful converted former car showroom, the Center was jammed with people milling around the visual art exhibit El Mundo Zurdo, a celebration of borderlands, sexuality, spirituality and queer identity. Graciela introduced me to her family, friends and proudly showed me around. Next time you're in San Antonio, make sure you stop by.

The Equality Texas brunch the next day in the gorgeous converted train station was another festive-serious fundraiser for all the work that Paul Scott, executive director and his organization are doing for LGBT equality in Texas. Keith Price, a native Texan and XM radio personality, and I mean personality, emceed the event. I met everyone from elected officials, judges, major donors to the newly formed LGBT student group at a local Catholic! College. You really haven't lived until you've experienced Tex run an auction with Keith Price.

If you visit San Antonio, don't forget to see both cities. There is the gorgeous one you see above ground, but then there's a whole lovely river city below street level. Three women, Kim, Judith and Denise were kind enough to take me on boat cruise of the two and a half mile river cruise through the city, even though Denise, a Facebook friend from way back, had horrible allergies and was in tears most of the ride. After, they took me out of town for "authentic Mexican cuisine" at Los Barrios. Now when someone says "authentic Mexican cuisine" I get frightened because too often I've been served a gringo version - a large brown puddle of lumpen something. Los Barrios was the real deal.

Barbara and Tex took me to the airport at an ungodly hour on Monday morning and I spent the day flying and changing planes until I got to Provincetown - just in time for the lilacs and lilies of the valley. Ahhhhh.

Reprinted with permission from Bilerico.com. Be sure to check out the author’s web site at KateClinton.com.

Equality Texas Spirit of Texas Events, May 16 & 17, 2009

Photos -- Spirit of Texas fundraisers
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, May 19, 2009

The weekend of May 16 and 17 featured two special events in San Antonio for Equality Texas. The Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 17 was preceeded by a VIP party on May 16 at Gallery Vetro (top row). At the brunch, held at Sunset Station, awards were presented to (bottom row) Roberto Flores, Dan Graney and Judge Barbara Nellermoe. The keynote speaker was comedienne Kate Clinton (center row).

Equality Texas to honor San Antonio activists
QSanAntonio.com, May 2, 2009

Equality Texas this week announced that Roberto Flores and Dan Graney are the recipients of this year’s Becky Cross Anchor Award and Judge Barbara Nellermoe will receive the Advocate Award. The awards will be presented during Equality Texas’ annual Spirit of Texas Brunch on May 17.

The Becky Cross Anchor Award and the Advocate Award are presented to San Antonio community members whose life’s work has improved the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans.

Flores and Graney have been equality activists for the past 17 years in San Antonio. Both were singing members, as well as officers, of the Alamo City Men’s Chorale from 1994 through 2003. Graney served on the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Black Tie Dinner, Inc., from 1997 to 1999 and was Dinner Co-Chair in 1999.

In 2000, Flores and Graney were among a group of local GLBT activists who founded Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio. Flores served as co-chair of SDSA from 2000-2001 and Graney served as co-chair from 2002-2005. Flores was re-elected co-chair in 2007 and is a member of the SDSA Board of Directors.

In January 2006, Flores was elected a member of the Board of Directors of Equality Texas. That same year, Graney became a member of the San Antonio Area HIV Health Services Planning Council. Both men are also members of the Alamo Business Council, a GLBT social organization. In 2006, Flores was elected male Co-Chair of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio. In 2008, Graney was elected President of Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus.

Barbara Nellermoe was elected to the bench as a Judge to the 45th District Court in November 2002 to a four-year term effective January 1, 2003. She has previously served as corporate counsel for Clear Channel Communications, as an administrator at St. Mary’s Law School, as staff attorney to Chief Justice Alma L. Lopez, and as law clerk to three federal district court judges. For ten years, she engaged in private practice, representing clients in environmental, banking, securities, and other types of commercial litigation.

Judge Nellermoe is the Editor in Chief of the San Antonio Lawyer magazine and past president of the Bexar County Women's Bar Association. She serves on the board of the St. Luke's Lutheran Health Ministries Foundation, the Development Board of Texas Lutheran University, the UTSA College of Liberal & Fine Arts Advisory Council, and the board of Z-Place, a family center which provides day care and recreation services. She served as congregational president of St. John's Lutheran Church from 1994 to 1998.

Equality Texas honors San Antonio transgender activist
QSanAntonio, Updated May 20, 2007

Equality Texas, the Austin-based GLBT lobbying organization, presented its Anchor Award on May 20 to Rebecca Lynn Cross an internationally recognized transgender activist from San Antonio who died last year. The presentation was made at the Equality Texas Foundation’s Spirit of Texas Brunch. Sally Said of the San Antonio Gender Association accepted the award on Cross’ behalf.

After a twenty-two year career in US Army special operations Cross attended the University of the Incarnate Word to complete her Bachelor of Arts in English. She completed an M.A. in English at the University of Texas at San Antonio and was finishing her dissertation on the writings of Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldua when she died on July 7, 2006 while returning from a summer session at Dine College in the Navajo Nation.

Cross was a founding member of the San Antonio Gender Association and the former Vice Chair of the board of directors of the San Antonio Diversity Center. She transitioned on July 4, 2003. In July of 2005 she presented at the first Pan-Asian Sexualities Conference in Bangkok and underwent sexual reassignment surgery following the conference. In March of 2006, she was elected as one of two International Lesbian and Gay Association board members from North America. She was the father of two and the grandmother of three.

"We are excited about hosting this event which honors the life and contributions of an important figure in San Antonio," said Paul E. Scott, Executive Director of the Equality Texas Foundation.

Scott says he considers the Anchor Award especially relevant at a time when Texas legislators are attempting to add "gender identity and expression" to hate crimes legislation. "We hope that naming the Anchor Award after one of San Antonio’s dearest transgender activists, we will raise awareness as to the important contributions LGBT Texans have made," he says. "The award makes people visible who are often invisible."