by Fred Kuhr
While more and more people are dining out and going to bars, some community events are remaining in the virtual world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the latest Zoom galas was held last month when New York City’s Gay City News hosted its sixth annual Impact Awards. This marks the second year it was not held in person.
“The virtual format of this year’s event is intended to reduce risks during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some of us have lost loved ones, others have gotten sick, and we have all felt the strain of the crisis throughout our daily lives since we were blindsided by COVID-19 last year,” wrote editor in chief Matt Tracy.
“And yet, the perseverance of our community through the dark days of the pandemic reminds us of the importance of bold leadership in trying times,” Tracy continued. “Our honorees are representative of the determination and courage we strive to see across different fields. They include activists, attorneys, designers, doctors, and others who carry out important work while living their true, authentic lives in a world that can be hostile to our community.”
Former and founding editor Paul Schindler, who retired last year and was honored during the ceremony, served as host of the event.
Although the gathering was held virtually, the newspaper hosted what was described as an intimate cocktail event for its honorees in October at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, where the in-person gala had previously been held.
During that event, Schindler was presented with a plaque from Gay City News and its owner, Schneps Media, “to celebrate his memorable career,” according to Tracy. “The event also featured a highlight reel displaying countless snapshots of Paul over the years.”
A 28-page newspaper-sized program was included in the November 4 issue of Gay City News to promote the November 11 event. The supplement included photos and write-ups of all the honorees.
Honorees included: Liz Abzug, founder and executive director of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute as well as daughter of the late member of Congress Bella Abzug, who worked with Ed Koch in 1974 to propose the earliest version of the Equality Act; Thomas “TJ” Chernick, director of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce-New York; and Elisa Crespo, a transgender advocate and the first executive director of the New Pride Agenda, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group in New York.
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