equality_banEquality Florida Institute will present the Voice for Equality Award to Allan Hendricks and Rand Hoch at the 1st Annual Palm Beach Reception on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Northern Trust (11301 US Hwy. 1, North Palm Beach).

The wedding-themed event will include an open bar, sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and a State of the State Address presented by Nadine Smith, CEO, in which she will discuss the marriage equality lawsuit recently filed in Florida and what landmark achievements and victories mean for efforts in Florida.

“This is a pivotal moment in the LGBT movement, and Florida stands on the front line of Southern states in achieving full equality,” said Smith.  “We are honored to be able to spotlight the achievements of two people who have contributed so much to bring our state to this tipping point.”

equality_1Honoree Rand Hoch has been a trailblazer in the fight for LGBT equality in Palm Beach County for 25 years.  In 1998 he founded the Palm Beach Human Rights Council.

To date, Rand’s efforts have helped to facilitate the passage of more than 65 ordinances and policies enacted to extend equal rights and benefits to the Palm Beach County LGBT community, including domestic partnership benefits, tax equity reimbursement programs and anti-bullying initiatives.

In 1992 Rand became Florida’s first openly gay judge, returning to private practice in West Palm Beach in 1996.  Since then, he has served on the Board of Directors of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, COMPASS, the ACLU of Florida and the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators, to name a few.

In recognition of his efforts, Rand has been awarded the Harriette S. Glasner Freedom Award; the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County’s Community Service Award; the Compass Public Service Award; the Florida Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims Outstanding Service Award; the Florida Workers’ Advocates Outstanding Service Award; the Spectrum Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hank Godley Memorial Award.

equality_2Honoree Allan Hendricks is a native of West Palm Beach and serves as Equality Florida’s Palm Beach County Steering Committee Chair. He has led the local team since 2006, when he formed a monthly MeetUp to connect Palm Beach to statewide LGBT advocacy efforts.  Over the past eight years, he has led faith outreach, anti-bullying education, state and local lobby efforts, and events.

Allan has also worked tirelessly in coalition-building efforts to create partnerships with other progressive and social justice groups. He has served on the Board of the Community Caring Center, Area Agency on Aging LGBT Task force, is a speaker for Safe Schools South Florida and has been a member of the Progressive Round Table.

Tickets are $100 and may be purchased online at or by calling (813) 870-3735.  For further information on Sponsorship, beginning at $500, go to

Equality Florida Institute is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.