SARASOTA, Fla., — Equality Florida honored two members of the Sarasota community this week as Sharon Carole and Christopher Covelli both received the Voice for Equality Award at the 2021 Equality Florida Suncoast Celebration.
Each year, Equality Florida honors an individual with the Voice for Equality Award. The accolade recognizes individuals who, with courage, passion and unwavering commitment, move the LGBTQ community closer to full equality. This year, the organization chose to recognize two individuals.
Recipients Carole and Covelli are both co-owners of The Realm Restaurant Group, which operates Sage and Bijou Garden Café. Covelli also serves as the executive chef at the two restaurants.
The two were recognized for their ongoing generosity and support of Equality Florida. Both have been active and engaged volunteers for the organization, among other similar causes.
“Sharon and Chris share our vision for Florida where no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” said Mark Puskarich, development director at Equality Florida. “They have helped build Equality Florida’s Suncoast community into one of our largest and most active chapters. We’re grateful for Sharon’s and Chris’ commitment to our critical work throughout the state.”
Carole and Covelli were honored on Sunday, Nov. 14 during the 2021 Equality Florida Suncoast Celebration held at the Universal Flight Training in Sarasota. The event attracted approximately 250 attendees.
“I’ve always strived to be an advocate,” said Sharon Carole. “It’s an honor to be recognized by Equality Florida. Because of organizations like them, I feel safer and better about our future.”
“Equality Florida is a big part of my life and has been for over ten years,” said Covelli, who also served on the organization’s steering committee. “I consider myself an activist, and I will be until I take my last breath. As a gay man, I have a duty to protect the generations that come after me.”
Both Carole and Covelli also serve on the board of Project Pride SRQ, another nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the spirit and culture of the LGBTQ community in the Sarasota area. Carole is also a supporter of ALSO Youth, and Covelli has been a longtime supporter of Florida Winefest’s Caring for Children charities.
About Equality Florida
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Equality Florida formed in 1997 as Governor Jeb Bush took office and Florida’s state government made a hard turn to the right. Our strong presence in the Capitol since our founding 24 years ago has allowed us to defeat or neutralize dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills since 1997. These bills included efforts to: overturn all local anti-discrimination policies, repeal all safe schools policies, expand Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban, and prohibit domestic partnership benefits and protections. Through lobbying, grassroots organizing, education, and coalition building, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. For more information, visit equalityflorida.org.
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