At the Ninth Annual Straight for Equality Gala, guests had the opportunity to celebrate and honor the life and legacy of PFLAG National board president emeritus John Cepek, who passed away unexpectedly on March 15, 2017. All in attendance took a moment to celebrate John’s aloha spirit and penchant for Hawaiian shirts in a tribute perfect for his approach to life. PFLAG National also announced a fund, the Cepek Ally Action Fund, in his honor.
John was a gentle soul filled with joy, humor, compassion, and a fierce and unrelenting commitment to dignity, inclusion and equality. He was the first to have a vision for our Straight for Equality program, recognizing more than a decade ago that helping people learn and become supportive is in PFLAG’s DNA, and that we should apply our rich decades-long history of family support to allies.
The surge PFLAG is experiencing in new chapter requests, the influx of fearful -- and fierce -- families and LGBTQ people in chapters nationwide is evidence of how important PFLAG’s work is right now. The greatest tribute to John’s life and legacy is to continue the critical work that he started, and this fund is one way for allies and the LGBTQ community to ensure that PFLAG can meet the demand, reach more people, and fulfill the promise of equality and inclusion for all.