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“This is a great event to be yourself.” GSAFE to host 25th Annual Celebration of Leadership


GSAFE will host its 25th annual Celebration of Leadership on Saturday, June 26, at 5 p.m. at the Monona Terrance Community and Convention Center. At the event, they will honor high school seniors and an educator of the year for their LGBTQ+ activism across Wisconsin.             

“This is going to be a very sexy event. It is going to be on the rooftop of the Monona Terrace,” said GSAFE Co-Executive Director Ali Muldrow.  “There will be music. There will be hors d’oeuvres, there will be a lot of vaccinated educators. We planned this event in the midst of COVID-19. We do this event every year usually it’s indoor event, it’s earlier in the spring. We wanted to adjust the event, so that it could still be glamorous and still be fun and still get people into those cute outfits that we haven’t been able to wear in a long time. But, also, be as safe as possible.”

This event is a celebration of the leadership and activism from Wisconsin community members this past year. Early bird ticket sales are currently open. Tickets are currently $85; prices go up for the event at noon on June 11th. People can purchase tickets online, in person through the mail. You can send a check to the GSAFE office, which is 122 East Olin in Madison, WI 53713, or purchase tickets directly from the office. For those who are not comfortable with being in person, there are opportunities to participate in the event virtually through the silent auction. 

GSAFE Co-Executive Director Ali Muldrow

“We’re going to hear from our representatives across the state,” said Muldrow. “[U.S. Congressperson] Mark Pocan will be there to share some remarks with our young people and welcome folks to the event. We’re giving an award to our State Superintendent [Carolyn Stanford Taylor], who is also the first Black woman to ever be the superintendent of the state. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes will be receiving an award that evening. We’re celebrating his activism, specifically, his work around the Black Lives Matter Movement, and his work in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake last year.”

This year, GSAFE will be honoring four LGBTQ activists, who will all receive scholarships. GSAFE has given out over 100 awards and scholarships to LGBTQ youth activists over the past 25 years. The organization still celebrated young activists last year during the pandemic at a virtual event. 

“For me, this also tells the community that we’re still here, even through this pandemic,” said Tyrone Creech Jr., GSAFE Youth Leadership Organizer. “We’re still working hard, we still believe in the kids, the young folks. We’re still teaching them; we’re still learning from them. And that we still need to support fully to continue doing what we do.”

This celebration of leadership is important because it honors the activism of LGBTQ youth and leaders in Wisconsin. This event will welcome community members of Madison to a space where they can feel safe, relax, have fun and honor the hard work of activists around them. 

“This is a great event to be yourself,” said Muldrow. “To come as you are, where you’re at in your life …to learn from a really diverse and beautiful, and loving community. But it’s a great place to be your whole self and if you just also miss being around people, this is your shot to be an environment that is going to be a welcome back to community celebration. So, we want you there.”

Music at the event will be sponsored by DJ Martinez M White. The celebration will be held from 5-9:30 p.m. Location changes – as far as inside or virtual – could change depending on weather conditions and Dane County’s restrictions at the time of the event. Tickets are available for purchase here.