Last week Octavia Spencer, Apple CEO Tim Cook and more were honored at the 2019 GLSEN Respect Awards. The event which took place at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills honors the work of those who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth.
“When we hear the word glisten, it brings to mind words like sparkle, glitter and gleam and that is what this room feels like tonight,” the award winning actress said while accepting her award. “A shiny space filled with happy, beautiful people who are all aglow because we know that here we are seen, accepted, and loved for our full selves no matter our sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or skin color. And that’s what school should feel like too.”
Octavia Spencer received the Inspiration Award but she wasn’t the only actress present at hand to receive an award. Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch was also there and joined creator Robert Aguirre-Sacasa on stage to accept the Gamechanger Award on behalf of the show. Petch’s Riverdale character Cheryl comes out during season two.
With popular shows such as Riverdale and amazing organizations like GLSEN, great examples are being set for the younger generation. One of GLSEN’s main concerns is working to create safe and inclusive schools for all and they are achieving this by providing their support and resources to reach students and educators across the United States.
“As a kid growing up there weren’t many organizations that I could run to,” said Kalen Allen from the Ellen Show. “It was very important to me to celebrate this night to show that I am here, I see you, I love you and I’m not that far in age from you. I am proof that anything is possible as long as you follow your dreams.” And proof he sure is! Coming from Kansas, Allen was given the opportunity of a lifetime after Ellen Degeneres saw his online videos and basically gave him a job. Now he is here alongside many other celebs advocating for important organizations like GLSEN.
Other guests in attendance and presenting included Jonathan Bennett, Connor Franta, Chelsea Kane, Melissa Peterman, and much more. Be sure to check out the video to see the interviews and for more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs visit www.glsen.org