New York, NY — Cleve Jones, a legendary gay rights activist and union leader with UNITE HERE was honored at the VH1/Logo Trailblazer Honors for his groundbreaking work and bravery fighting for equality in America. Jones received his award alongside pop legend Cyndi Lauper in a program featuring Nancy Pelosi, the Alvin Ailey dance company, UNITE HERE Vice President Maria Elena Durazo and others. The award ceremony was simulcast on VH1 and Logo on Friday, June 23 at 9ET/8CT.
“UNITE HERE is proud to have Cleve Jones receiving the Trailblazer Award tonight for his groundbreaking leadership on LGBTQ equality in America,” said UNITE HERE’s International President D. Taylor. “UNITE HERE has a 40-year commitment to fighting for and winning LGBTQ protections in the workplace, including leading the way on HIV/AIDS protections for workers in the 1980s and a commitment to equality that has resulted in contracts for 200,000 of our members with specific non-discrimination clauses that protect workers from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender expression. With major fights still ahead for specific protections of trans workers in particular, I’m confident that with Cleve leading the way, UNITE HERE will remain a pioneer for equality, inclusion, and dignity for all workers.”
Cleve Jones first began his advocacy as a protégé of Harvey Milk in San Francisco. As a longtime LBGTQ activist some of his many accomplishments include founding the NAMES Aids Quilt project, and co-founding the Sound Francisco AIDS Foundation – one of the most high profile and influential AIDS organizations in America. His biography of his extraordinary life and career, When We Rise: My Life in the Movement, served as an inspiration for the ABC mini-series When We Rise, which aired in February 2017. With UNITE HERE, Cleve has led a number of initiatives to raise wages and improve living conditions for housekeepers, dishwashers, cooks and other hospitality workers across North America.
This is the fourth annual Trailblazer Honors event, and was held at 9pm EST at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. UNITE HERE has been the leading labor pioneer for protections for LGBTQ workers since the 1980s, and is proud to have a historic dedication to LGBTQ equality that includes having openly gay members serving in national leadership for many years.
UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at www.unitehere.org, and the Sleep With The Right People boycott campaign at http://unitehere.org/who-we-are/lgbt-partnerships. To learn more about Cleve Jones, visit www.clevejones.com.