News Briefs: Lambda Legal's Pizer receives award

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday August 17, 2022
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Jennifer Pizer. Photo: Courtesy Lambda Legal
Jennifer Pizer. Photo: Courtesy Lambda Legal

Jennifer Pizer, the acting chief legal officer at Lambda Defense and Education Fund, recently received a top honor from the LGBTQ+ Bar at its conference in Los Angeles.

During a lunchtime program July 27, Pizer, a lesbian, received the Dan Bradley Award, the LGBTQ+ Bar's highest honor. It recognizes the efforts of a member of the LGBTQ legal community whose work has led the way in our struggle for equality under the law, according to the group's website. Bradley was the first chair of the American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibility's Committee on the Rights of Gay People, now known as the Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. He died of AIDS in 1988.

"Jenny has been a leading voice for family equality, including marriage, for LGBTQ people, for stopping anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, health care, and education, for protecting LGBTQ refugees, and against the misuse of religion to license discrimination," the LGBTQ+ Bar stated in it notes on the awardee.

According to Lambda Legal's website, Pizer was lead counsel in Majors v. Jeanes, the successful federal case against Arizona's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. She also was co-counsel in the litigation that won marriage for same-sex couples in California in 2008, and then protected the marriages 18,000 lesbian and gay couples celebrated there before passage of Proposition 8.

In an email, Pizer said the award means a lot to her.

"This award is especially meaningful to me because it's given by one of the core organizations of our profession and movement, and I hold its leadership in such esteem," she wrote. "And in receiving the Bar's Dan Bradley award in particular, I'm joining the company of many of my sheroes and heroes, mentors and treasured friends in this work.

"It was extra sweet to be honored together with my dear friend Mia Yamamoto, one of the most engaged social change lawyers anywhere, and one of the warmest, realest people one can have the pleasure of knowing," Pizer added. "And, perhaps most memorably, having my brilliant former colleague and always beloved friend Jon Davidson present the award was simply the best."

She also noted potentially rough times ahead for the LGBTQ equality movement, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade and how that migh affect other issues like marriage equality.

"And even as we face profoundly serious threats from the Supreme Court, state legislatures, and too many other places, what we all have accomplished together during the years of the Bar's existence — and Lambda Legal's nearly 50 years! — fills me with pride and confidence that we will meet the challenges," Pizer stated. "We have persevered strategically through terrible times in the past. Being reminded of that renews my optimism and determination about the work ahead."

Charlie Spiegel, a gay man and attorney in San Francisco, has long been involved with Lambda Legal. While he was unable to attend the Lavender Law conference, he nonetheless praised Pizer.

"Since we went to law school together in the 1980s, Jenny has been a strong advocate for LGBTQ+, HIV/AIDS, abortion access, and AAPI rights," Spiegel wrote in an email to the Bay Area Reporter.

The LGBTQ+ Bar also recognized two of Lambda Legal's younger attorneys — Nora Huppert and Avatara Smith-Carrington — as members of its 2022 class of Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40.

San Francisco attorney Deb Wald received the LGBTQ+ Bar's Leading Family Practitioner Award. Wald, a lesbian, is the managing partner of the Wald Law Group, a full-service family law firm.

Another Dan Bradley Award was presented to Yamamoto, a trans woman who previously worked for the California State Public Defender's office before going into private practice. She has received numerous awards over the years.

Diego Sanchez, a trans man who worked for gay former Congressmember Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), received the LGBTQ+ Bar's Frank Kameny Award.

Virtual panel on trans equality

Andrea Jenkins, president of the Minneapolis City Council, will be one of several trans leaders taking part in a virtual panel discussion titled "Trans Equality Now" hosted by the California Endowment and taking place Wednesday, August 24, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center and a board member of the California Endowment, will moderate. Other panelists include Janetta Louise Johnson, executive director of the Transgender Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project; Bamby Salcedo, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition; and Yuan Wang, director of Lavender Phoenix, formerly known as APIENC

According to the announcement, the panel will explore escalating threats to transgender people, from anti-trans laws at the state and local level to reactionary campaigns to deny trans existence. The panel will discuss how to fight back, organize for intersectionality, and celebrate the joy of the transgender community.

The event is free. To register, click here.

CA LGBTQ health confab goes virtual

The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network has decided to shift all aspects of its 2022 convening to a virtual format due to the recent public health emergency declarations in California and the U.S. for the monkeypox outbreak. The conference was to have been held in Los Angeles August 29-30.

A statement from the organization noted that as a health advocacy group, it would be unethical to hold an in-person event while there is a surge in monkeypox cases, both in West Hollywood, where the convening was to be held, as well as the state and nation.

The Rainbow Connection and general session of the conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 30. There is no longer a registration fee and will be free for attendees. Those who already purchased tickets will receive a refund, organizers said.

A pre-conference is planned for August 29.

To register, click here.

SFO's Milk terminal wins another award

The San Francisco International Airport announced that Harvey Milk Terminal 1 has received the Best Project Award from Engineering News Record, widely considered the most authoritative publication on the construction industry worldwide. Harvey Milk Terminal 1 was awarded the 2022 Best Projects Award in the "Airport/Transit" category for the California region and will be entered for nationwide project awards announced in October, according to a news release from the airport.

"Harvey Milk Terminal 1 represents the new benchmark for what SFO can achieve," stated airport Director Ivar C. Satero. "Every aspect of this project — construction collaboration, guest experience, sustainability features — sets the bar higher than ever before. But the greatest accomplishment is that this facility celebrates the legacy of pioneering civil rights leader Harvey Milk. My thanks go out to the entire project team for creating something truly amazing, and to Engineering News Record for this recognition."

The Harvey Milk Terminal 1 project is composed of four phases. The first phase opened in July 2019 with the nine departure gates, followed in April 2020 by nine additional gates, an exterior façade with Harvey Milk signage, and a new ticket counter area. The third phase opened in May 2021 with the final seven departure gates, a new post-security connector to the International Terminal, a new museum gallery, and a new display of exhibit content honoring the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He and then-mayor George Moscone were assassinated by disgruntled ex-supervisor Dan White in November 1978.

The fourth and final phase of Harvey Milk Terminal 1, which will create a new North check-in lobby, was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic but has now resumed. Originally scheduled for completion in spring 2023, this final phase is now expected to be completed in spring 2024.

Last year, the terminal won the Fitwel Best in Building Health Award from the Center for Active Design, as the B.A.R. reported at the time. In May, it won the People's Choice Award for projects over $10 million from the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco.

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