Chicago — Five years ago on June 1, Center on Halsted opened its doors to the public. Since that time, the Center has grown to become a model for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community centers across the nation. To celebrate this important anniversary, Center on Halsted will host the annual Human First gala on May 12, bringing together more than 1,500 community members and featuring a performance by k.d. lang and The Siss Boom Bang. BMO Harris Bank is presenting sponsor of the event, which will be held at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park and hosted by Bravo's Andy Cohen, host of "Watch What Happens Live."
"Since opening our doors, Center on Halsted has grown to become the Midwest's leading and most comprehensive LGBT community center," said CEO Modesto Tico Valle. "Together, we've been able to build and strengthen individual lives and the LGBT community as a whole. We're not only excited to celebrate our first five years, we're also excited to showcase how we are continuing to grow."
As part of the recent growth, the Center recently received a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to expand HIV services. The Center is also partnering with Heartland Housing to build the first affordable housing facility for LGBT Seniors in the Midwest. Construction on the new building, which will be located next door to Center on Halsted, is scheduled to begin in 2013.
The Human First gala is an annual event created because each individual, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical ability, ethnicity or age is — above all — human first.
In addition to celebrating the first five years, key community leaders will be honored including Amina Dickerson, Laura Ricketts, Greg Cameron and Richard & Susan Kiphart. Community Spirit Awards will also be awarded to Chicago Cubs Charities, The Chicago Community Trust and Kraft Foods for their support of LGBT individuals and the unique issues facing the community.
For more information on the event and honorees, please visit www.centeronhalsted.org .