Laverne Cox, star of “Orange Is the New Black,” and Shannon Minter, nationally renowned civil rights attorney, to be honored at second annual uniTy Reception for Transgender Health, Research and Rights

For Immediate Distribution
June 16,2016

Hamid Jahangard,, (310) 794-5192

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law brings together community leaders, students and philanthropists to support data collection on gender identity.

LOS ANGELES — On June 19, 2016, the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law will host the uniTy Reception to honor Laverne Cox, groundbreaking star of “Orange Is the New Black,” and Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, at The Edison in Downtown Los Angeles, which is underwriting all of the costs of the event.

Proceeds from this event will go to support the historic expansion of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to include questions that will allow transgender people to identify themselves.  CHIS is the first large government survey that includes gender identity questions and is already paving the way for such questions to be added to federal surveys.  Data collection is the initial step toward providing critical research and understanding of the demographics, diversity and issues facing the transgender community in order to increase funding, access and inclusion for services to this highly vulnerable population.

“LGBT people are a vital part of the fabric of this country and we just want to be counted,” said Laverne Cox. Last week, she participated with other Williams Institute researchers in a press conference introducing a bill in Congress to expand data collection for LGBT people in federal surveys.

Speakers and attendees will include community leaders including Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, academics, students, legal and business professionals, philanthropists, celebrities and more. Prominent uniTy host committee members include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Jose Huizar, Paul Koretz, Paul Krekorian, Nury Martinez and Mitch O’Farrell;  West Hollywood City Councilmembers John Duran and John Heilman; Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors; and LA City Controller Ron Galperin.

Notes to the Editor:

What:              uniTy Reception

When:             Sunday, June 19, 2016
                         6-10 p.m. uniTy Reception

Where:           The Edison
                         108 W. 2nd St., #101
                         Los Angeles, CA 90012

Who:                Laverne Cox, “Orange Is the New Black”
                         Shannon Minter, civil rights attorney

100% of proceeds from the event will benefit the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), and the entire cost of the event is being underwritten by The Edison Downtown Los Angeles.

For press interested in covering the event, contact Hamid Jahangard at or 310-794-5192.

Laverne Cox: Ms. Cox is an Emmy‐nominated actress and Emmy‐winning producer best known for her work on the critically acclaimed Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black” where she plays the ground breaking role of Sophia Burset. Cox is the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. In addition to her acting, she is a renowned speaker and has taken her empowering message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically all over the country.   Her work as an advocate landed her a coveted spot as one of Glamour magazine’s 2014 Women of the Year. She is the recipient of the Dorian Rising Star Award for her work in “Orange Is the New Black,” the Courage Award from the Anti‐Violence Project, The Community Leader Award from the LGBT Center of New York City, received the Reader’s Choice Award from “Out” Magazine, was named one of The Grio’s 100 Most Influential African Americans, was named one of the Top 50 Trans Icons by the Huffington Post, one of Out magazine’s Out 100, made the Ebony Power 100 and was ranked number 5 on the 2014 Root 100 list.

Shannon Price Minter: Mr. Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. In 2009, Minter was named a California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer. In 2008, he was named among six Lawyers of the Year by Lawyers USA and among California’s Top 100 Lawyers by the legal publication The Daily Journal. He also received the 2008 Dan Bradley Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association for outstanding work in marriage cases and was the recipient of the Cornell Law School Exemplary Public Service Award. In 2005, Minter was one of 18 people to receive the Ford Foundation’s “Leadership for a Changing World” award.

Click here for the full event details.

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