“Equality Forward” the theme for this year's Palm Springs Garden Party, is a fitting tribute to the hard work of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest national LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) advocacy organization with more than 1.5 million members throughout the country. The existing patchwork of legal protections for LGBTQ people in the United States leaves millions subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination. The 17th Annual HRC Palm Springs Garden Party will be held November 5, 2016 from 1:30-4:30p.m. Location will be given upon ticket purchase.
HRC is a bipartisan organization that works to advance equality based on sexual orientation and gender expression and identity, to ensure that LGBTQ Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community. HRC also creates educational resources and outreach programs for corporate America as well as for all members of the general population who are committed to fairness and equality.
HRC fights for LGBTQ equality across California alongside state and local groups and lawmakers.
Presented by Call Management Resources, the Garden Party brings together more than 700 HRC members, friends, families, and allies for an afternoon of celebration and inspiration featuring an open cocktail reception, an extensive silent auction, thought-provoking speakers, and special celebrity guests and honorees.  Tickets start at $75.00 and include sumptuous passed hors d'oeuvres and a hosted bar.  The event will also feature an incredible live auction featuring a luxurious 10-day cruise donated by Crystal Cruises Lines. 
The Advocate for Equality Award is given to members of our local community who have demonstrated a history of advocacy for the LGBT/HIV AIDS movement. This year it will be presented to Brad White and Alexis Ortega.

Alexis Ortega was born and raised in Palm Springs. As the first in her family to attend college, she was heavily involved in campus LGBT groups at Stanford University, and during her senior year she volunteered for the Obama campaign and the No on Prop 8 campaign. 
Shortly after Prop 8 passed, she helped organize National Marriage Boycott, a student-led movement of allies and LGBTQ people that pledged not to marry until full federal marriage equality became the law of the land. 

Alexis returned to the desert shortly after graduation and has continued her passion for LGBTQ causes as a four-year member on the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast Committee, a volunteer and organizer of Palm Springs Dyke March, and an organizer of social events for younger local lesbians and queer women. 
Alexis recently joined the team at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, and strives to be a visible professional in the Coachella Valley as an out queer young woman of color.

 Brad has been a resident in Coachella Valley for more than 20 years. Brad's volunteer experience includes over 25 years of work with LGBT political and AIDS services organizations in Los Angeles, Orange County & Palm Springs.  
 He served on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Board of Governors for over 3 terms starting in 1999 and one term on the HRC Board of Directors, has co-chaired the HRC Orange County & Palm Springs Garden Party & Federal Club events more than 15 years, and served as the Orange County/Long Beach/Palm Springs area's Steering Committee co-chair, Federal Club co-chair, Political co-chair and Diversity co-chair.  

Brad worked with then-Board of Director Craig Sannum to create the very first “OCLBPS” HRC Steering Committee.  Bringing together the LGBTQ communities of Orange County, Long Beach & the desert area.   He has volunteered for Project Angel Food in Los Angeles, Palm Springs' Desert AIDS Project and served in various leadership roles within the Episcopal Church in Los Angeles and Palm Springs.  Over many years, Brad has also been an ardent supporter of AIDS Assistance Program of the desert, Gay Associated Youth, Palm Springs Art Museum and Special Olympics.

Internationally known actor, author, and entertainer John Barrowman MBE will receive the HRC Visibility Award. Barrowman will receive the award for his continued advocacy for the LGBTQ community.
Barrowman can currently be seen in the regular role of Malcolm Merlyn (aka The Dark Archer) in the hit American drama series Arrow, based on the Green Arrow comic books. The show has been a huge success all over the world on and airs on the CW network in the USA.

He is currently filming Arrow's 5th season. He subsequently guested as Malcolm Merlyn in The Flash, and has also guested on the CW's hit historical drama Reign. Having guested on the hit ABC show Desperate Housewives and the American political drama Scandal he hosted a major new entertainment series for the ABC network, Sing Your Face Off. 

This year's special guests include  KMIR's Anchor and Host of “Your Health Matters” Janet Zappala. She is a 6-time Emmy® award winner and has garnered 13 Emmy® nominations for her work at TV stations in cities across the country, including: Honolulu, San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver and Philadelphia. 

Dana Adkins will be the live auctioneer and is a multi-talented performer who has been singing, dancing, acting and hosting shows internationally for over 20 years.  As a headliner, she has performed throughout the world, including a long stint as the star of the much-acclaimed San Francisco based production of Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon.  Her television acting credits include roles on the popular daytime soap Days of Our Lives, Beverly Hills 90210 and the lauded mini-series 
Tales of the City. 

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is organized for the charitable and educational purposes of promoting public education and welfare for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. HRC Foundation envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
For additional ways to support the Human Rights Campaign and to purchase tickets to the Palm Springs Garden Party, click here.