Originally written for www.eriebenedictines.org

Congratulations to Oblate Doris Cipolla who recently received one of the LGBT Community Progress Awards from the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE). Doris, a pioneer in the LGBT movement in greater Erie, was honored for her efforts and commitment on behalf of marriage equality and inheritance rights. “I am so humbled to be chosen for this award,” said Doris. “I have worked for these rights for many years and continue to be committed to issues of equality in the greater Erie community.”

In a congratulations letter to Doris US Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. acknowledged her ongoing social justice efforts: “I commend you for your continued activism on behalf of social justice through the Speaker Series named in honor of your late partner, Ms. Charlene Tanner.”

The Speaker Series was established by Doris in memory of Charlene because of their shared interests in social justice, peace, and the environment. This year’s event, hosted at Mercyhurst University, will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 7 PM at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC). It will feature Bryan Stevenson, award winning author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, a New York Times Bestseller. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

“This is a speaker you don’t want to miss,” said Doris. “It is my hope, as always, that this program will inspire others to help create a healing environment for the world.”

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets become available at the PAC box office on September 6.