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Today Athlete Ally, a nonprofit focused on educating and activating athletes to champion LGBT equality, announces it will honor basketball legend Grant Hill, tennis champion Dr. Renée Richards, and corporate leader Salesforce at this year’s Athlete Ally Action Awards.
Grant Hill is an ally to LGBT people, who most memorably spoke out in a PSA video in partnership with GLSEN, where he encourages young people to consider that “words have consequences, we’re accountable for the things we say, words have meaning.”
“As a past recipient of an Athlete Ally Action Award, I can’t think of a better NBA player for Athlete Ally to honor,” said Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the NBA. “Grant is strong, dedicated, and unwavering in his commitment to LGBT people and inclusion in sport. He isn’t afraid to speak up and educate athletes and sports fans alike about the ramifications of anti-LGBT slurs.”
Dr. Renée Richards is both a highly respected tennis champion and highly respected doctor. Her tennis career spans decades, and she successfully changed policies within the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the United States Open Committee to make both organizations more transgender-inclusive.
“Renée is a pioneer in the LGBT community and as she made the decision to be her authentic self, all she asked was that we accept her and include her,” said Billie Jean King, tennis champion and founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative. “With tennis as platform, and as a successful ophthalmologist, Renée has continued to champion equality for all. She is truly a visionary and leader for athletes of all sexual orientations and gender identities. She helped all of us be more comfortable in our own skin and she is so deserving of the Athlete Ally Action Award.”
Salesforce demonstrated strong allyship to the LGBT community in 2015 as an anti-LGBT piece of legislation was on the table in Indiana.
“Our allies at Salesforce made big waves this year for LGBT people in Indiana and beyond,” said Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director. “When Indiana passed an anti-LGBT law, Salesforce – the largest tech employer in the state – put pressure on the Indiana’s Governor to amend the law. Salesforce didn’t just release a statement, they put their money where their mouth was and immediately canceled all events held in the state. That’s powerful.”
The second annual Athlete Ally Action Awards will take place on October 20, 2015, at the 40/40 Club in New York City. More information about the event can be found at ActionAwards.org.
Last year’s Athlete Ally Action Awards honored baseball pioneer Yogi Berra, tennis champion James Blake, the NBA’s first openly gay player Jason Collins, tennis great Martina Navratilova, KPMG, and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Athlete Ally’s mission is to educate and activate athletic communities to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT equality. Founded in 2012, Athlete Ally has worked with the NBA, WNBA, and MLB on matters of respect and inclusion; led the Principle 6 campaign that convinced the International Olympic Committee to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter; and counts more than 130 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors. www.athleteally.org