Presenting the Allan Spear Award and the Rick Stafford Award

In 2001, Stonewall DFL created the Allan Spear Award to honor elected officials, DFL party leaders and activists who gave generously of their time in the fight for LGBTQ equality across Minnesota. The Rick Stafford Award is a new award in 2019. This award honors LGBTQ leaders who have persistently worked to recruit and promote the leadership of people new to the DFL party.

Allan Spear Award

Minnesota State Senator Allan Spear was one of the first openly gay Americans serving in elected office. He was in the Minnesota Senate from 1973 until 2001 and served as the body’s 7th President from 1993 until his retirement in 2001. Spear was instrumental in passing the 1993 Minnesota Human Rights Act, which guaranteed protection from discrimination in education, employment, and housing to LGBTQ Minnesotans.

Rick Stafford Award

Rick Stafford was the first openly gay person to lead a state political party in the country, elected as DFL chair in 1993. He was a respected national leader on LGBTQ issues, including serving as chair of the LGBT caucus of the DNC. Dedicated to the DFL's farm and labor roots, he worked at all levels to build the party, advocate for its platform, and raise up new leaders. Rick passed away in 2017 and mentored much of the Democratic Party's current and emerging leadership - not just in Minnesota, but across the United States.