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Inclusion Award legacy winners remind us of how far we’ve come, inspire us to keep pushing forward (Digital flip-book)

Five years ago, the Independent started an annual tradition of recognizing LGBTQ and allied people, businesses and organizations that have enriched our community. Those who have made Colorado Springs a better, safer, more welcoming and more enjoyable city for all of us, no matter our sexual orientation or gender identity.

This year, we honor five past winners, voted on by previous selection committees and members of the LGBTQ community, who embody the spirit of Inclusion not just in their past achievements, but in their ongoing commitment to full equality for all.
These legacy awards and their worthy recipients represent an acknowledgment of how far we have come as a community, city, state and nation, while recognizing the hard work we have ahead of us.

Progress does not happen without resistance. For every step we take forward, there are those who would try to push us back, some of whom are working in the White House right now. It’s up to all of us to stand together and forge a strong path forward.

Each of us knows how it feels for our identities to become politicized. We have ceased to be simply gay or black or women, and have become #loveislove and #blacklivesmatter and #metoo. We have become the fight because we have no choice.

But the people we honor with these awards, and the countless others constantly striving for equality, ensure that we will not have to embody these issues forever. We’re on our way to a more just future, and we’re getting there together. As we take time to recognize the incredible people who make a difference in our daily lives and the culture of our city, we can remember our own individual places in the movement, and in our communities.

So on this, the fifth anniversary of Inclusion, in a political and cultural climate that challenges us all, it feels appropriate to take some time to celebrate us, our city and the people who keep us together. From the Independent to you — the freedom fighters, activists, nurturers, supporters, allies and accomplices — thank you.

Previous Inclusion honorees


  • D-11 Board of Education
  • Amy Dinofrio
  • Dara Hoffman-Fox
  • Shawna Kemppainen
  • Jan Martin
  • Bill Mead
  • Silas Musick
  • Gary Peacock
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • USAA


  • Christopher Aaby
  • Pam and Wayne Bland
  • Debbie Chandler
  • Michelle Talarico and Kathy Dreiling
  • Christopher Garvin
  • Gregory Howell
  • Mary Lou Makepeace
  • Alicia McConnell
  • Anton Schulzki
  • Shari Zabe


  • Ben Broadbent
  • Jill Gaebler
  • Gold Hill Mesa
  • Nic Grzecka
  • Inside/Out Youth Services
  • Rosemary Lytle
  • Guy McPherson
  • Susan Peiffer
  • United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire
  • Wag N’ Wash


  • Jane Ard-Smith
  • Colorado College
  • Coronado High School
  • Keep Colorado Springs Queer
  • Ladyfingers Letterpress
  • Nancy-Jo Morris
  • Poor Richard’s
  • Jack Ritchie
  • Nori Rost
  • Lisa Schoenstein

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