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    Recognizing Unsung Heroes: Alice Awards Recap and Upcoming D8 Candidate Debate

    By Louise “Lou” Fischer

    Congratulations to Alice Award Honorees

    On October 16, the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club hosted its Fall Awards Ceremony, an annual tradition of honoring leadership in our community. The Alice Awards are given out to recognize excellence among activists, volunteers and organizations. Some of the awardees are “behind-the-scenes” folks who rarely get public recognition for their efforts, and they deserve to be acknowledged publicly. These remarkable recipients contribute greatly to the community and their contributions are worth celebrating. 

    Brian Leubitz, Alice Leadership Award

    As a longtime Board Member of Alice, Leubitz has lent his talents as an attorney, educator, journalist and technologist to increase the club’s reach while building the now-recognizable Alice brand. In his nearly 10 years on the Alice Board, he has been instrumental in expanding the footprint and volume of Alice’s campaign and GOTV (Get Out the Vote) activities while implementing new and innovative technologies. Leubitz is a diligent and hard-working team member who contributes immeasurable hours to the club and serves as a mentor, coach and guiding light to his fellow Board Members.

    Lisa L. Williams, Community Public Service Award

    Williams is an unsung hero who selflessly contributes her time and expertise without any fanfare or public recognition. In addition to her longtime service as a Board Member of Alice, she has served in leadership positions with many non-profit and community organizations including BWOPA (Black Women Organized for Political Action), Bayard Rustin Coalition and SF Pride. Her modesty and humility are striking, and this award was long overdue. Congratulations, Lisa, and thank you!

    Women’s March SF/Sophia Andary, Organizational Community Public Service Award

    When over half the country and most of the Bay Area went into full panic mode on Election Day in November 2016, a group of women said, “Hell, no!” and created a national resistance movement to stand up for women’s rights, civil liberties and social justice. In addition to the record-breaking national women’s marches held throughout the country in January, the organization has sponsored rallies and seminars to continue the movement throughout the year. Alice is proud to recognize and honor such a strong, up-and-coming organization.

    Alex Randolph, Community College Trustee; Community Public Service Award

    Longtime Alice Board Member and current city-wide elected official, Randolph has served in many leadership roles. Through his committed efforts as a Trustee, City College was able not only to survive the accreditation crisis, but also has thrived with increased enrollment and innovative programs like free tuition that are eliminating financial barriers to higher education.

    Scott Nielsen and Coma Te, Volunteers of the Year Award

    Every member on the Alice Board is a volunteer and commits to participating in club-related activities, but there are some members who go above and beyond. Scott Nielsen’s tireless efforts and perseverance in his time-consuming obligations as Treasurer are crucial to Alice’s financial compliance. Coma Te has served as Co-Chair of Alice’s Events Committee for the past 5 years, and through his hard work, the Annual Alice Pride Breakfast has annually broken attendance records and is recognized as the de facto kickoff to the Pride Parade.

    Owen Stephens, Volunteer of the Decade

    Former “Volunteer of the Year” award recipient and active contributor to Alice for over 10 years, Stephens is a leader in the club and a mentor to many Board Members. As Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, he reinstated the monthly “Alice Reports” newsletter, compiled content for and ensured that Membership emails were sent, oversaw the club’s social media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @alicelgbtdems) and kept the Alice website updated (visit us at More importantly, he trained his team so that Alice will have consistency and continuity for years to come.

    David Fujimoto, Emeritus Member of the Year

    Alice has a vibrant and active Emeritus program composed of Board Members who have made extraordinary contributions to the Club for at least 7 years. Generally, “Em Board” members act in an advisory capacity and do not take on major time-consuming roles. David Fujimoto, a former “Volunteer of the Year” recipient, did the exact opposite. He led the Policy Committee in drafting and ratifying a comprehensive policy platform, and mentored new leaders that will serve Alice well into the future. 

    In addition to the unsung “citizen” awards, Alice bestowed the following awards on 2 San Francisco elected officials:

    Supervisor Katy Tang, Legislator of the Year

    One of the 4 policy planks ratified by Alice this year is pursuit of a balanced approach to safe, stable, and affordable housing. For her work on the recent HomeSF legislation to efficiently increase its stock of affordable housing and make the city more affordable for working families, we awarded Supervisor Katy Tang the “Legislator of the Year” award. We look forward to working with Supervisor Tang on other important pieces of legislation. 

    Senator Mark Leno, Robert Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award

    For the readers of the San Francisco Bay Times, Senator Leno does not need much of an introduction. Alice honored his lifetime of commitment and many years of public service to the LGBT community and all residents of San Francisco in his roles as Supervisor, Assemblymember and State Senator. He has been a tireless advocate for combating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity for all of his constituents.

    Congratulations to all award winners and thank you for your service!

    Upcoming District 8 Candidate Debate, Sponsored by Alice and Milk

    The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club are proud to be co-sponsoring the first District 8 debate between Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and City College Trustee Rafael Mandelman. Both candidates have a long history with the San Francisco LGBT community and each has served as Board Member or President of Alice or Milk. The debate will be moderated by Marisa Lagos, the state political reporter for KQED.  The event is free to attend.

    Date: Monday, November 13, 6:30 pm–8:00 pm

    Location: Rainbow Room, SF LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco

    See pages 12–13 of this issue for a Q&A with these two candidates. We hope to see you at the debate!

    Louise “Lou” Fischer is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and has served as an appointed and elected Delegate for the State Democratic Party. She is a San Francisco Commissioner and has served in leadership positions in multiple non-profit and community based organizations.