NEW YORK - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) announced today Luis Veloz of Dallas as its 2012 Student Advocate of the Year. Luis will be honored at GLSEN's eighth annual Respect Awards - Los Angeles gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Friday, October 5.
GLSEN's Student Advocate of the Year Award honors an outstanding young person whose efforts have helped ensure a safe learning environment for all students - and have served as a voice of change in their school and their community.
"We are incredibly proud of Luis and his tireless commitment to create opportunities for LGBT youth to become leaders in their schools and communities," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "Luis and his work exemplify why we honor student leaders with our Student Advocate of the Year Award. This young man's potential knows no bounds and I look forward to watching his career take off as he continues to serve others."
A Mexican immigrant, Luis and his family arrived to the United States four years ago. Luis attended Woodrow Wilson High School in East Dallas and went on to found two student organizations including his Gay-Straight Alliance.
An active GLSEN leader, Luis joined the GLSEN Greater Dallas chapter becoming its youngest board member where he focused on supporting other students' efforts to establish Gay-Straight Alliances at schools within Dallas. Luis also organized the first-ever Valentine's Dance for LGBT youth in the city.
Luis has been an active member of the LGBT community serving on two boards at the Resource Center of Dallas. Luis is also a former Lambda Legal intern and worked with their Dallas regional office to spearhead a summit for Gay-Straight Alliances in the area.
Additionally, Luis co-founded the Magdaleno Leadership Institute focused on youth leadership development and civic engagement that enable young people to excel in school and pursue higher education opportunities.
Luis is currently enrolled at Southern Methodist University where he received a full tuition scholarship. Luis is currently studying Human Rights and Public Communication.
The 2012 Student Advocate of the Year was selected through a nationwide search. Over 500 nominations were received for the national award. Three runners for the annual honor include:
- Katy Butler - Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Amelia Roskin-Frazee - San Francisco.
- Joel Johnson - Springs, N.Y.
"This year GLSEN is proud to partner alongside The Walt Disney Company to present our 2012 Student Advocate of the Year Award to Luis Veloz," said Dr. Byard. "We are grateful to have the support of The Walt Disney Company to honor this model student leader who is making a tremendous difference in his community."
The Student Advocate of the Year Award will be honored on-stage in addition to four honorees at the Respect Awards - Los Angeles:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg
- Inspiration Award: Simon Halls & Matt Bomer
- Chairman's Award: Bob & Harvey Weinstein
- Special Recognition: Adam Fitzgerald
The eighth annual gala in Los Angeles is to benefit GLSEN and honor the individual and corporate leaders who have helped propel GLSEN's vision to make schools safe for all students. The event is co-chaired by Linda Bell Blue (Executive Producer, Entertainment Tonight); Bonnie Curtis (Film Producer - Albert Nobbs; Red Eye; Minority Report); Donald De Line (Film Producer - Green Lantern; I Love You, Man; Observe And Report); Dave Karger (Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly); David Phoenix (Interior Designer); and Chip Sullivan (Head of Publicity, DreamWorks Studios).
In conjunction with the evening benefit, GLSEN has opened a charityBUZZ online auction where individuals can bid on amazing experiences to support GLSEN's efforts nationwide. The online auction will accept bids until October 11, 2012. For a complete listing of auction items and bidding information vist: www.charitybuzz.com/glsen.
Follow GLSEN's Respect Awards - Los Angeles on Twitter! Sign up for our tweets at @glsen . Use the Twitter hashtag #RespectLA.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.