Diverse & Resilient Announces 2015 Leadership Awards

January 20, 2015

Diverse & Resilient has selected eight leaders as recipients of its 2015 LGBTQ leadership awards.  The awardees are individuals and organizations who have demonstrated leadership in improving the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the state of Wisconsin.

Leonard Sobczak has been named to receive the Bayard Rustin Award in recognition of his longstanding commitment to LGBTQ wellness, environmental issues, and civic and political causes.  Sobczak is a quiet yet strong force for change and he leads as an out gay man.

Sobczak is the president of Eastmore Real Estate and the CEO of the Wisconsin Gazette, a leading voice on LGBTQ issues.  He was formerly vice president of the Shorewood Business Improvement District and served on the State of Wisconsin Transportation Projects Commission.  He formerly was chair of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.

In addition to civic leadership, Sobczak has made lasting contributions to nonprofits in the health and environmental sectors.  He is a longstanding board member at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters and has served on Diverse & Resilient’s board since the agency’s inception.

Bayard Rustin, the award’s namesake, was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.  Rustin was a mentor and adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the chief organizer of the historic 1963 March on Washington.  The Bayard Rustin Award honors his legacy of working behind the scenes to improve people’s lives through social justice.

Other leadership awards include:

  • Youth Leadership Award (14-19) – Joshua-Paul Miles, student
  • Young Adult Leadership Award (20-29) – Austin Kieler, student
  • Adult Leadership Award (30+) – Chris Ahmuty, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin
  • Acceptance Journeys Award – Melissa Bollow-Tempel, Editor at Rethinking Schools and Educator at Milwaukee Public Schools
  • LGBTQ Sustainability Award – Proud Theater
  • LGBTQ Staff Award – Kathy Flores, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Appleton
  • Community Partner Award – AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin

The awards will be presented at Reviving the Dream, Diverse & Resilient’s signature event that honors the legacy of Bayard Rustin.  The event will be held on March 19, 2015 at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin.  In addition to presentation of the leadership awards, the event will include mingling, activities, and a plated dinner.

Please join us in congratulating the 2015 awardees, each of whom is making a difference for LGBTQ people in Wisconsin.