About the Event

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

The Human Rights Campaign cannot operate without funds, and here in Atlanta, we have grown to host one of the largest fundraisers in the country for the cause of equality. The Atlanta Gala Dinner is an annual event that consists of a large private auction, followed by a black-tie dinner to celebrate the steps we have made and to look towards a more just future.

Historic rally

Atlanta HRC members do not confine their advocacy to Atlanta. Here is an Atlanta contingent at the March on Washington in the 1980s.

The Atlanta Human Rights Campaign has a long history of excellence for the LGBTQ movement and the work of the Human Rights Campaign. For interesting history about the dinner, scroll down to learn about past speakers, past dinner themes, and past co-chairs who gave significant time with the help of hundreds of volunteers to make the event an annual success.



Year    Speaker

2017    Dan Bucatinsky (actor)

2016    Kasim Reed (Atlanta Mayor) and Kathyrn Hahn (actress)

2015    Dr. Jill Biden and Jim Obergefell (Supreme Court marriage plaintiff)

2014    John Lewis (U.S. Congressman) and Sam Champion (The Weather Channel)

2013    Matthew Morrison (television actor)

2012    Tammy Baldwin (U.S. Congresswoman)

2011    Mo’Nique (actress) and Lee Daniels (director)

2010    Andy Cohen (Bravo TV) and David Ciciline (Mayor of Newark, NJ)

2009    Cybil Shepherd (actress) and Johnetta B. Cole (President, Spelman College)

2008    Kathy Najimy (actress and AIDS activist) and John Lewis (U.S. Congressman)

2007    Eric Alva (U.S. military, SLDN and DADT activist) and Kate Clinton (entertainer)

2006    John Lewis (U.S. Congressman) and Amanda Bearse (actress)

2005    James Carville (political consultant and former campaign manager for POTUS Bill Clinton)

2004    Chad Allen (actor), Cathy Woolard and Allen Thornell (GA Equality, speaking on GA marriage amendment)

2003    John Edwards (U.S. Senator)

2002    Janet Reno (former U.S. Attorney General) and Martha Wash (entertainer)

2001    Richard Gephardt (U.S. Congressman – Dem.)

2000    Maya Angelou (U.S. Poet Laureate)

1999    Desmond Tutu (South African anti-apartheid activist)

1998    Margarethe Cammermeyer (veteran, Washington National Guard)

1997    Ann Richards (Governor of Texas)

1996    Dale McCormick (first openly lesbian state senator in the U.S.; founder of Women Unlimited)

1995    Andrew Sullivan (editor, The New Republic)

1994    Joe Steffan (author, “Honor Bound”)

1988 Program Book Cover
Original 1988 Program Book Cover

Year    Theme

2017    Together we Stand, United we Win

2016    Beyond Marriage: All Rights for All People

2015    Empower the Movement

2014    Advancing Equality

2013    Shaping Our Future

2012    Be Part of Equality

2011    Our Stories

2010    Every Day

2009    Evolve!

2008    Viva ’08

2007    Journey

2006    Truth, Love, Happiness

2005    Freedom is for Everyone:  Let Your Voice Be Heard

2004    Created Equal

2003    Building our Future

2002    A Greater Vision

2001    It’s Time

2000    A New World

1999    All Equal

1998    Embrace Your Place

1997    Illuminate, Educate, Celebrate

1996    Envision Equality

1995    Building Bridges

1992    25 Million and Voting

1991    Taking Our Place

1990    Many Voices, One Vision

1989    In Our Lifetime

1988    Dare to Dream, Dare to Be