Edie Windsor & Thea Spyer Equality Award
Senator Shelley B. Mayer
State Senator Shelley B. Mayer (37th District) has spent her career as an advocate for New Yorkers. She is an experienced and progressive leader. Shelley was elected to the New York State Senate to represent the 37th District in an April 2018 Special Election, and she was subsequently re-elected in November 2018. Prior to her time in the State Senate, she served in the State Assembly for six years.
Shelley has spent her entire adult life working to make our society more inclusive and equal. As a civil rights lawyer, political activist, and legislator, she is proud to champion equality of opportunity for all.
Shelley has been actively involved in the community for many years, serving as a member of the Yonkers NAACP, Yonkers YWCA, Westchester Women’s Bar Association, and Westchester Women’s Agenda. She is a member of the Yonkers Lawyers Association, New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Shelley also previously served on the Board of the Jewish Council of Yonkers/Westchester Community Partners and the Yonkers Public Library.
The LOFT Business Ally Award
PepsiCo- EQUAL Group
EQUAL, PepsiCo’s employee resource group for LGBTQ+ associates and their allies, aims to promote an open, inclusive and respectful work environment. Having started in the 1990s, the group has helped to advance PepsiCo’s culture, the launch of an annual Global Ally Day across our office locations, the creation of the PepsiCo pride flag displayed around the world, and achieving a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
The LOFT Ally Award
Captain James Spencer, WPPD
Captain James G. Spencer II started his career with The White Plains Police Department in June 1999. He has worked in various assignments while working his way up the ranks of the Department. Some include Police Officer assigned to Special Operations Nightlife Enforcement, Criminal Investigations Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Community Advocacy & Strategic Initiatives Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant, Special Operations Executive Officer, and Community Policing Executive Officer. He was promoted to Captain in December 2018 and is now assigned as The Commanding Officer of The Criminal Investigations, and The Community Advocacy & Strategic Initiatives. His Command oversees The Domestic Violence / Victim Services Unit, Mental Health Outreach, School Resource Officers, Background Investigations, and all Criminal Investigations, as well as The Warrants Unit, Narcotics Unit and Intelligence Unit. He has completed several police trainings, including the NYPD Hostage Negotiations Seminar in 2003, NYPD Homicide Training in 2005, IACP Leadership training in 2009, The FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar in 2011, and is a graduate of the 248th session of The FBI National Academy March 2012. He is a Police Instructor and also a member of The City of White Plains Mayor’s Youth Board. Captain Spencer has worked closely with The LOFT to help protect and assist the LGBTQ Community in Westchester County.
Legacy Gala Emcee
Record Emmy Winning News 12 Anchor, Reporter, and Producer
Tara Rosenblum spent 14 years as an anchor/reporter with News 12 before kicking off the station's first investigative unit in 2017, recently named 'Turn to Tara'. Since joining News 12 in 2004, she has become the most award-winning reporter in the state of New York. Her more than 200 industry awards include a 2017 National Edward R Murrow Award, 25 Emmy wins and 105 Emmy nominations, six of them for New York's top general assignment reporter. In 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 she was the most Emmy-nominated t-v reporter in the NY market; one of the years bringing home a 8 wins, including Top GA and Political reporter.
Tara's passion is diving into breaking, political and investigative news stories and she has traveled the county, state and the country to tell them, including the Virginia Tech Massacre, the 2008/2012/2016 presidential race and Hurricane Katrina. Tara's coverage of the ravaged Gulf Coast led to sizable donations from across the Hudson Valley and prompted a local village to adopt a church in Algiers. Months later, Westchester County recognized Tara's efforts by naming a day in her honor.
To date, Tara has had 12 days named in her honor in communities across New York. In addition, she was honored by the Guidance Center of Westchester, the Rockland Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, The Alliance for Safe Kids and the New Rochelle chamber of commerce for her in-depth coverage on the heroin and synthetic marijuana outbreak. Most recently, Tara was recognized as the MPAC organization's 'Woman of the Year'.
Tara has also covered major criminal cases in New York and was inside the courtroom for the convictions and sentencing of Bernard Madoff, Actor Lillo Brancato Jr and first broke the Millionaire Murder Mystery involving the the death of Fontainebleau hotel heir Ben Novack Jr. She also spent four years covering the 9/11 health crisis, following local emergency responders down to Washington for congressional hearings. One of Tara's stories, even won the New York Festivals international 'Grand Award.'
Tara was a 2005 Walter Cronkite political fellow and spends much of her time producing, writing and reporting News 12's political coverage. Tara has interviewed presidents, governors and reported live from state and national political conventions. In early 2019, her interview with Hillary Clinton announcing that she wasn't running a third time for president aired on t-v stations across the globe.
Before joining News 12, Tara worked on-air at two NBC stations; first as a reporter in Iowa, then as a main anchor/talk show host in Elmira, NY.
She started out her career working jobs/internships at The White House, Capitol Hill, CNN's White House unit and CBS News during the 2000 presidential elections.
She also spent some time, as a student, travel writing for the Miami Herald...which helped her pursue her favorite hobby. Tara has logged trips to nearly 50 countries.
Outside of work, Tara's passion is the 'private race to space'. Her dream one day is to visit the final frontier on board a Virgin Galactic flight!
The LOFT LGBT Community Services Center
Mission- Advocate | Educate | Celebrate
Values- Respect | Inclusivity | Opportunity | Integrity
252 Bryant Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
(914) 948-2932 | firstname.lastname@example.org