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Inclusion Awards: 10 reasons to celebrate 

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Last year we hosted the second-ever Indy Inclusion Awards and honored 10 local individuals and organizations who spend their days, nights and resources continuing to advance LGBTQ issues and creating a more inclusive and diverse Pikes Peak region. We also celebrated the Supreme Court's historic, and long-overdue decision to legalize gay marriage — now just called marriage — in every corner of the United States of America.

As this year's third annual Indy Inclusion Awards arrive, we see how far equality has come — but at the same time, we're still mourning the senseless terror that unfolded on Sunday, June 12, at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. So locally, we pull together and continue to work and support and hope that these acts of hate come to an end.

While our hearts ache, we temper that hurt by celebrating 10 local champions (six individuals and four groups or business entities) — tireless advocates in the community, leaders in youth organizations, faith, business, government, the nonprofit world, community, activism, charitable social organizations and the arts.

They aren't messing around. Whether they are speaking at events and rallies or quietly advocating behind the scenes to make sure that everyone knows their worth — each day is spent making strides, gaining an inch and fighting for equality. We express our deepest gratitude to the winners for their passion, missions and drive, and honor them with 2016's Indy Inclusion Awards.

And we thank all of you for celebrating these amazing winners and their accomplishments with us. We hope you'll join us on Thursday, July 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs for an awards ceremony and White Party in their honor. (See p. 37 for ticket information.) And we'll do it again next year with your help, so watch for the nomination form next spring where we'll again pay tribute to those instrumental in making our community a more open, accepting and understanding place to live, work and play.

—Carrie Simison, Publisher

2016 Selection committee:

Christopher Aaby

Bill Mead

Sarah Musick

Carrie Simison

Deb Walker

Jack Ward

Fran Zankowski

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