Karina Samala, a Christopher Street West board member since 2009, received the Keeper of the Dream Award, from the City of West Hollywood, at a community event on January 13, 2011.
“It's an honor to be recognized with the ‘Keeper of the Dream’ Award and I am humbled to be associated with the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Samala said. “I will continue to strive to achieve Dr. King's dream of providing services to those that need uplifting, furthering the education of our citizens, promoting social justice and individual rights, working with community leaders and institutions to incorporate and treat all individuals with equality and dignity.”
The Award honors an individual who has demonstrated exceptional community leadership while embracing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy that “… every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
Samala is a driving force in the Southern California Transgender Community and is regularly called upon to help younger transgender people in crisis. Her primary focus has been Transgender rights and empowerment; in addition she works to build bridges to non-transgender communities.
“Karina is an inspiration to all of us, instilling that embracing our differences with compassion and dignity is what will make our society, and our world, a better place for all humanity,” said Jeffery Prang West Hollywood Councilmember.
“No award or honor can be obtained without the help of others. This includes my new extended family, the Christopher Street West / LA PRIDE Organization, the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board and the Imperial Court of Los Angeles and Hollywood. As we all know, any important contribution to society is rarely due to the work of one individual, but rather is the result of the combined efforts of many people working together for a worthwhile project. I am fortunate to be surrounded by friends who have stood by me and supported me and for this I am truly grateful,” Samala said. “I humbly accept this award on behalf of those who have paved the way and made it easier for me, though we still have a long way to go.”
Samala’s tireless efforts have positively affected numerous lives in her over 20 years of service to society. Christopher Street West’s board, staff and volunteers congratulate her on this distinguished honor.