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Barbara Walters to host event celebrating first anniversary of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal

News release from SLDN, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

ABC News Legend Barbara Walters to Host Celebration of American Troops

September 18 event in New York City will mark one year anniversary of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, honor Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

(New York, NY) – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), OutServe, and the Interbank Roundtable Committee (IRC) today announced that journalist Barbara Walters will serve as emcee for the upcoming event, “Celebrating Our Heroes,” scheduled to take place on Tuesday, September 18 aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in New York City. Marking the first anniversary of the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law, the event will be a tribute to all American service members and will honor former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who played a significant leadership role in repeal, which took place on September 20, 2011.

“The addition of Barbara Walters as our emcee for the evening makes an already exciting lineup even more spectacular. It’s only fitting that America’s most influential and accomplished journalist - who has made history herself a time or two - would join us for this historic and emotional event,” said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.

Walters has arguably interviewed more political figures and celebrities than any other journalist in history. She is so well known that her name and a brief biography is listed in the American Heritage Dictionary. In September 2004, after 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent of ABC News' 20/20, Ms. Walters left the show to begin a new phase in her career at the network as co-owner, co-executive producer and co-host of The View. She remains an active member of the news division and network, substantially increasing the number of primetime ABC News specials, in addition to her "Barbara Walters Specials." Through the years she has interviewed such world figures as Russia's Boris Yeltsin, China's Premier Jiang Zemin, Great Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Libya's Moammar Qadaffi and Iraq's President Sadaam Hussein. She was also the first American journalist to interview Russia's President Vladimir Putin and the first to interview President and Mrs. Bush following September 11. She has interviewed every American President and First Lady since Richard Nixon. She made journalism history by arranging the first joint interview with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin in November 1977.

"Having someone of Barbara Walters’ depth of world experience and caliber is a perfect match for this tribute to Admiral Mullen's courage in helping our nation live out its promise of equality for all,” said Elizabeth Birch, former President of the Human Rights Campaign and a key organizer of the event.

The September 18 celebration in New York City will be the first in a series events hosted by SLDN and OutServe across the country during the week to commemorate the first year of open service by America's gay and lesbian service members. The anniversary of repeal is September 20.

The September 18 event is sponsored by: UBS - Verizon - BNY Mellon - GlaxoSmithKline - Bank of America - DiversityInc - Winston & Strawn LLP - Viacom - MillerCoors - Absolut - Citigroup - UPS - Renna Communications - Ernst & Young - Honda - General Motors - Human Rights Campaign - Merck - Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP - Credit Suisse - SAP - Interbank Roundtable Committee - Financial Services Industry Exchange (FSIX) - The Out NYC - XL Nightclub - KTCHN Restaurant

The event will begin with a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m. A general admission event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude at 9:30 p.m. For more information, to sponsor the event, or to purchase tickets, visit www.sldn.org/intrepid2012.

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ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100. For more information, visit www.sldn.org.

ABOUT OUTSERVE: OutServe is the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel. With more than 5,500 members and 50+ chapters worldwide, it is one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world. OutServe works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. For more information, visit www.outserve.org.

ABOUT INTERBANK ROUNDTABLE COMMITTEE: The Interbank Roundtable Committee’s (IRC) is a voluntary NY-based ‘network of networks’ with representatives from 28 financial services industry organization’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Employee Resource Groups (ERG). The IRC serves as an open forum where members share best practices on promoting inclusive work environments and policies, engaging senior management and straight allies, building ERG membership and coordinating networking, professional development, and philanthropic activities across the industry. The IRC helps members build their professional network within the financial industry, while also promoting the financial industry as the industry of choice for LGBT individuals. For more information, visit www.interbanknyc.org.

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