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One internet search for Mandy Carter reveals why she was the first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the LGBT Center of Raleigh. Since receiving the Award at the Banquet in 2010, Mandy has strengthened her efforts to seek justice for racial and gender equality.
This year, Mandy celebrates 45 years of social, racial, and LGBT justice organizing, and it’s almost impossible to summarize all that she has done – beginning with peace activism in the late 1960s and continuing today in her role as National Coordinator for the Bayard Rustin Commemoration Project of the National Black Justice Coalition.
Bayard Rustin was the chief strategist behind the highly successful 1963 March on Washington, but recognition of his effort was ignored because he was a gay man. Mandy was unwilling to let that oversight go because recognizing Bayard Rustin was the right thing to do.
On August 8, 2013, President Barrack Obama announced that Bayard Rustin was among the 16 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.
President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
“Bayard Rustin was an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity and equality for all” who “stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights,” a White House statement said of Obama’s decision to include Rustin among the honorees.
Many remember that Mandy was a co-founder of Southerners on New Ground (SONG). SONG’s purpose is to build a progressive movement across the South by developing models of organizing that connect race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. She is still quite active with SONG today, traveling across the South to present seminars.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh continues to be very proud of Mandy Carter and continues to recognize her for her Distinguished Service to our Community.