Five Reasons HRC’s 20th Annual National Dinner Was One for the History Books

This weekend’s 20th Annual HRC National Dinner was one for the history books, with speeches and performances from civil rights icons, loving parents of LGBTQ children, top models, star actresses, and Tony-award winning musicians.

Here are five must-see moments:

1. DEMOCRATIC VEEP NOMINEE TIM KAINE RALLIES FOR LGBTQ EQUALITY, BLASTS TRUMP’S PANDERING: Addressing more than 3,800 LGBTQ advocates and allies at Saturday night’s HRC National Dinner, Vice Presidential nominee Senator Tim Kaine shared his devotion to LGBTQ equality and expressed optimism about future shifts from the Catholic Church. He also rebuked Donald Trump’s attempts to pander to the LGBTQ community and highlighted the stark contrasts between a Trump-Pence and Clinton-Kaine administration, pledging to prioritize the Equality Act, expand access to crucial HIV and AIDS medications, and protect LGBTQ children from bullying and stigma.

2. CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS CALLS FOR ‘GOOD TROUBLE’ ON ROAD TO EQUALITY: In a powerful speech, civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), spoke to the audience as brothers and sisters in the fight for equality. Congressman Lewis called on the audience to do everything in its power to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump in November. “We must get out there in this election and vote like we’ve never voted before,” said Congressman Lewis, noting he has met President Kennedy and every president since and never before has there been a more dire threat to the country than that posed by Donald Trump. 

3.  THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW — HRC PRESIDENT CHAD GRIFFIN AT HRC’S NATIONAL DINNER: HRC President Chad Griffin discussed the power of the LGBTQ electorate and the historic need to protect and expand the gains made by the LGBTQ community in the next election: “[T]his fight is about more than just passing a law or electing a president. It is about ensuring a brighter tomorrow for future generations. From Stonewall to Laramie to Orlando, in the face of tragedy and persecution, our community has shown time and again that we are stronger than fear. Ours is a story of perseverance, of progress, and pride, and we are living proof of that distinctly American creed, that out of many, we are one.” Read the full speech here.

4, PREPARE THE TISSUES — MOTHER OF ORLANDO VICTIM DELIVERS EMOTIONAL SPEECH:  Christine Leinonen, the mother of Christopher Leinonen, a victim of the Orlando shooting, delivered an emotional speech at HRC’s National Dinner. In July, she made an emotional plea for gun violence prevention at the Democratic National Convention. Grab some tissues and watch Leinonen’s speech below.

5. NYLE DIMARCO SPEAKS FROM HIS HEART: Nyle DiMarco, the first Deaf person to win America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22 and Dancing With The Stars Season 22, spoke about the intersectionality of our issues and embracing our differences. Last year, DiMarco came out publicly as sexually fluid to his followers on Twitter.

Watch videos from the dinner below and to learn more about HRC’s National Dinner, visit