LOS ANGELES – Equality California (EQCA) has named Sanie D. Andres the recipient of its first-ever “Good Neighbor” Equality Award recognizing excellence in grassroots lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activism.
A marriage and family therapist, Andres is president of the board of the newly launched OUTreach Center, the only LGBTQ resource in California’s High Desert. Sanie will receive this honor Saturday (Aug. 18) at the 2012 Los Angeles Equality Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The Good Neighbor award is the first Equality Award whose honoree is determined not by EQCA but through nomination by grassroots community members.
Andres, a gay Filipino-American raised in Antelope Valley, was nominated by his peers for his leadership in building coalitions, community empowerment, and inspiring individuals of all ages to engage in making Los Angeles County’s northernmost communities safer for their LGBTQ residents.
Under his direction, the OUTreach Center, formerly the AV GLBT Community Center, has gained new visibility and has opened up dialogue with community leaders that has positively influenced the way many Antelope Valley residents feel about equality for all.
In 2009, Andres founded The Out Project; a program that serves more than 40 LGBT youth weekly and that was honored by the Stonewall Young Democrats at the 2011 Harvey Milk Awards. He has inspired teens to launch Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at several Antelope Valley high schools, and spearheaded a protest of hate crime graffiti in Lancaster that brought out more than 120 allies – the area’s largest-ever community mobilization on LGBTQ issues.
As Antelope Valley’s Pride Committee Chair, Andres has grown the annual event from a 500-attendee picnic to a full-day celebration with 10 major sponsors and more than 2,300 attendees on the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.
Under Andres’ leadership, The OUTreach Center is organizing a launch of a PFLAG chapter in Antelope Valley, coordinating a transgender support group, and continuing to sponsor LGBT-related human rights trainings for local educators. His collaboration with the Teachers’ Association of Lancaster led to the first-ever school climate survey in Lancaster, and resulted in a grant to jointly develop LGBT literature kits for local classrooms and libraries.
Andres is a clinical supervisor at Penny Lane in Lancaster and a registered art therapist. He lectures on cultural competency and LGBT issues in foster care through his role as adjunct faculty at National University and Antelope Valley College, and he has served as a board member of the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association.
He also currently serves as secretary on the City of Lancaster’s Museum and Public Art Foundation board.
(Information via press release from the OUTreach Center.)