Following Pride Month and in advance of our local Pride celebration this weekend, we at the Indy are proud to continue our four-year tradition, honoring heroes of the local LGBTQ community. The 10 individuals, organizations and institutions who have earned awards this year play a vital role in ensuring our city, region and state maintain the kind of mindful diversity that puts us ahead of national legislation.
While other states' activists still fight against discriminatory bathroom bills, we have had public accommodations protections for all genders since 2008. While there are still many places in America where people can be fired or denied housing because of their sexual or gender identity, we have laws in place to keep them safe. While harassment and hate crime statutes across the nation require drastic inclusive updates, we modified ours this year to include LGBTQ people and people with disabilities. Part of this positive movement is due to the culture of acceptance our tireless advocates have created in Colorado, and the one they continue to create here in Colorado Springs.
We are not blind to our reputation, but even in the past few years our city has evolved, expanded and matured. Diverse arts organizations and inclusive businesses have opened their doors, or continued doing the incredible work that brings people to our city and allows them to feel safe and welcome here. Young people have started moving here from all over the country, or stayed to put in the work required to keep our city on the right path. Every day the LGBTQ community feels more like a family, a family with a commitment to supporting each other, protecting each other, advocating for each other and connecting with each other.
The people and organizations we have chosen to honor for 2017 have devoted themselves to the betterment of our region, donating their time and energy to inclusive causes, demonstrating unshakable will and insurmountable strength, often in the face of cultural adversity. They are the political activists, educational institutions, artists, allies and more that make a daily difference in our region, and it is our privilege to thank them for their work.
Please join us for an award ceremony and White Party in their honor on Thursday, July 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs. There's much to celebrate, and even as we acknowledge the continuing struggle for full equality, we can find strength in those inspirational individuals and groups who help us move collectively forward.