EVENING OF LAUGHS AND TEARS RAISES FUNDS FOR LGBT SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION
The Point Foundation honored actress Cherry Jones and Motorola at the Point Honors in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel on September 26 with plenty of celebrities on hand to praise The Point Foundation, which provides scholarships to deserving GLBT youth. Presenters Lily Tomlin, Swoozie Kurtz, Carrie Preston and others offered many bright and hilarious moments, but it was the students themselves who stole the spotlight with their poignant stories of triumph over adversity.
The Courage Award recognized Jones as an example to young people as an out, proud and accomplished individual. Jones recently won an Emmy for her supporting role as the President on FOX-TV’s series 24 and has won two Tony awards for her Broadway roles in Doubt and The Heiress. She has also appeared in feature films including Amelia, Ocean’s Twelve, Erin Brokovich, The Horse Whisperer, The Perfect Storm, The Village and Signs.
Jones said she was “honored and humbled” to receive the award and “proud to be associated with such as worthy cause.”
The other major award of the evening, the Point Inspiration Award went to Motorola for the company’s continued support of the GLBT community.
The evening was not without politics, as Adam Shankman, So You Think You Can Dance judge and film director (Hairspray, The Wedding Planner), began his presentation with an unscripted announcement, “Fuck this Prop 8 shit.”
Shankman continued, to rousing applause, “These fights are won in the court room. This is a legal issue, not a spiritual issue, and we will win.”
The crowd gave it up for other presenters and performers throughout the evening including red-hot Swoozie Kurtz, True Blood’s Carrie Preston, Lost’s villain Michael Emerson, former American Idol Frenchie Davis and violinist and Point Scholar alumnus Zach Zyskowksi, who performed an exquisite rendition of Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs.
The most affecting moments of the evening came from the scholars themselves. Point scholar Angela Clements told of her challenges growing up gay in her rural hometown of 600 people in Nebraska. “I could stop there,” she joked. After coming out, her conservative Christian family subjected her to reparative therapy and eventually disowned her. With the help of the Point Foundation she persevered to become a gay rights leader at her university where she graduated with honors. She now attends the University of California – Berkeley law school and aspires to be a civil rights attorney to defend the rights of LGBT people.
Scholarship recipient Kyle Rapinan of North Seattle, Washington moved some audience members to tears when he told of physical abuse by his brother and rejection by his mother when he came out as gay. He escaped the violence by “couch surfing” at friends’ homes, but he had little hope for his future until receiving a Point Foundation scholarship that enabled him to attend the University of Washington. He plans to attend law school next and fight for LGBTQ equality.
The evening featured a video presentation introducing a handful more of the 67 current scholars supported by the Point Foundation and its 72 alumni. One lesbian scholar described her alienation from her family and hopelessness before becoming a Point Scholar. She proudly announced at the end of the video, that she was now, Doctor Judy Schell,” thanks to the Point Foundation.