Triangle State Dinner to focus on 'Heart of Movement'

This Sunday, Oct. 12, the Triangle Foundation will be holding their annual State Dinner Event. This year's event, held at 1500 Town Center in Southfield, will focus on The Heart of the Movement.

The night will begin at 5 p.m. with a silent auction, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Dinner and the program will begin at 7 p.m.

The event will honor notable members and allies of the community with the Catalyst Awards. The awards are part of Triangle Foundation's efforts to award the quality of work and integrity of spirit of those leading the fight to end violence and discrimination against LGBT persons in Michigan.

Each year several awards, including the Henry D. Messer Youth Activist Award, are bestowed on individuals, groups or organizations from across Michigan that have positively impacted and promoted the mission of Triangle Foundation. This year, honorees include R. Cole Bouck, Johnny Jenkins, Grand Valley State University, Stephanie Sandberg and Yoni Siden. All will be celebrated for their tireless work for the betterment of the LGBT community.

R. Cole Bouck, for example, who has previously been honored by such organizations as the Lansing Association of Human Rights, will be recognized for his work with the Michigan Department of Corrections. Bouck has worked to increase awareness and acceptance of gay and lesbian employees.

Johnny Jenkins will be recognized for his work as the Michigan Program Officer for the Arcus Foundation, which provides grants to help LGBT people and organizations.

The keynote speaker of the night will be Rev. Steven C. Baines, director of Interfaith Outreach at People for the American Way, an organization dedicated to helping all Americans realize true equality and celebrate diversity.

Rev. Baines has been with PFAW for eight years, working on LGBT issues, church and state separation and making sure that the far right does not control the federal legislature. "Basically I mobilize progressive people of faith to really lend their voices to the public dialogue around these issues," he explained.

Rev. Baines will be speaking on behalf of the religious community about bridging the gap between religion and homosexuality, and how the religious community can help to push LGBT rights forward and accept LGBT people into their congregations. Also, he'll speak about the need to work together with all like-minded communities to reach common goals. "I'll be addressing the need for creating what I think Martin Luther King dubbed the 'beloved community,'" he explained. "I think what we need to understand is that gay and lesbian issues do not exist in a silo. The whole dialogue and debate around marriage equality touches on so many issues that affect everybody. Not just wealthy people, but especially people of lower economic means."

According to Rev. Baines, who hales from Washington, D.C., the need is especially important in states like Michigan where the need to work together to move forward is crucial. "We have too many divides with every group in their own silo," he said. "I'm going to be talking about how do we reach across the divide between different social justice movements and really create that beloved community that Martin Luther King envisioned back in 1963."

Rev. Baines has been featured in debates against the religious right and the "ex-gay" movement on CNN, CSPAN, Court TV and numerous radio shows.

For tickets to the Triangle Foundation's State Dinner Event, visit or call 313-537-7000. Tickets are $150 each.

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