SANTA MONICA, CA — September 26, 2017 – Kelly Osbourne, Miss Jay Alexander, Laith Ashley, Leeza Gibbons, Benjamin Patterson, Hayden Byerly, Meagan Good, Laura Govan, Perez Hilton, Jacob Tobia, Zeke Thomas, and many others joined the LGBT community and LGBT allies in Santa Monica on Sunday to help raise funds for the I Love Me Foundation’s #Backpack10 Campaign program. The second annual Breaking the Silence Awards was held at the luxury beachfront property at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
The Sunday afternoon luncheon raised thousands of dollars for the Foundation. Former West Hollywood Mayor Abbe Land, Williams’ Institute Founding Executive Director, Brad Sears, Pulse Shooting Massacre Survivor. Angel Colons, Celebrity DJ Zeke Thomas, and OUT Magazine Managing Editor, R. Kurt Osenlund were honored at the semi-formal luncheon, which also featured special live performances by Frank Ocean, Laith Ashley, Chris Woods, and Sophie Beem.
Board Vice-Chairman & Realtor Yawar Charlie opened the evening by thanking the event’s sponsors and introduced founding Executive Director, Robert Harrell, who spoke about I Love Me Foundation’s mission to end LGBT homelessness and reduce the numbers of LGBT sex workers by 2020.
“We all have a reason to break the silence,” said Robert Harrell, executive producer of the BTSA. “#BreakingTheSilence is a sustained movement that impacts millions of lives. We honor the personal stories that motivate individuals to speak up, and that highlight the urgent need to provide inclusive and affirmative services to LGBT survivors of sexual trauma who so desperately need them.”
Former Mayor of West Hollywood, Abbe Land, was presented the 2017 Ally for Equality Award in recognition of her using your voice to stand up for LGBT youth issues by speaking out against bullying and advocating equality for all Americans. Williams’ Institute of UCLA Founding Executive Director Brad Sears was presented with the 2017 James Baldwin Vanguard Awards in recognition of his profound effect in the lives of countless LGBT persons through his leadership of rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation, gender identity law, and public policy. OUT Magazine Editor, R. Kurt Osenlund, was presented the 2017 Outstanding LGBT Leader award in recognition his outstanding leadership contributions in the world of journalism in addressing the challenges, triumphs, and stories of the LGBT community. Pulse Nightclub Massacre Survivor, Angel Colon was recognized with the 2017 Barack H. Obama Purple Heart Award, a special recognition for your audacity of hope in the face of one of the greatest American tragedies under the Obama administration. Forever #OrlandoStrong. And the final award recipient, Celebrity DJ Zeke Thomas, was presented the 2017 Breaking the Silence Award in recognition of giving a voice to the voiceless to break the stigma of males survivors of sexual abuse.
Additional guests included Senator Ben Allen, Prop 8 Plantiff Couple- Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo, TV Personality Laura Govan, Trans Activist Jacob Tobia, LA Times Queer Journalist, Tre’vell Anderson, comedian Sampson McCormick, KTLA News Producer, Marcus Wilson-Smith & husband Chris Wilson-Smith, TEDx speaker Kristy Spagoon and filmmaker/producer Nneka Onuorah.
The luncheon’s live auction, led by comedian Sampson McCormick, featured an array of exotic destination getaways to Costa de Sol, Spain, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, and Los Cabos, Mexico.
ILMFDN is a major force in the development of innovative and more effective services such as the #Back10Campaign which were designed to provide BackPacks with 10 essential survival items to LGBT and non-gender confirming youth and young adults who are underserved or experiencing homelessness. The I Love Me Foundation 2017-18 goal is to distribute at least 1,500 backpacks across LA County in partnership with various LGBT organizations, City of Santa Monica, LA City Hall, Compton City Hall, and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Office.
About Breaking the Silence Awards:
Breaking the Silence Awards (BTSA) is a fundraiser event, which recognizes corporations and community leaders who use their platform of influence to advocate for sexual and domestic abuse awareness. BTSA raises funds to provide supportive services to LGBT survivors of sexual and domestic abuse. BTSA, a fundraising program of the I Love Me Foundation (ILMFDN), was established in 2015 by hollywood publicist, Robert Harrell, to utilize the industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting new research efforts and to increase awareness about sexual trauma in the LGBT community.
For more information on Breaking the Silence Awards, visit www.btsawards.com. #btsawards
About the I Love Me Foundation:
Founded in 2015, the I Love Me Foundation (ILMFDN) is the leading national organization dedicated to providing resources of education, empowerment and advocacy to LGBT survivors of sexual & domestic abuse. ILMFDN is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA where the organization is supported by three administrative executives, nine board members, and a host of advisory council members from various disciplines throughout the US and abroad.
For more information about the I Love Me Foundation, visit www.i-loveme.org.