Miami Dolphins honor Tony Lima with NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award

Lisa Johnson Miami Dolphins Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

The Miami Dolphins have selected the Executive Director of SAVE (Safeguarding America’s Values for Everyone), Tony Lima, as the recipient of the NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. This was announced at a Business Equality Network luncheon sponsored by SAVE and the Miami Dolphins.

The award, in conjunction with the NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), recognizes the contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market.

Lima received a trophy and $2,000 donation to SAVE during the Pregame at the Miami Dolphins home game against the Oakland Raiders on September 23, 2018, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Born and raised in Miami, Lima is a first generation Cuban-American.

As Executive Director, Lima oversees SAVE, South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to protecting people of the LGBTQ community against discrimination. Since 1993, SAVE has advocated for equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Under his leadership, SAVE has had the biggest wins towards LGBTQ equality in the organization’s 25-year history: in 2015, SAVE successfully sued the state of Florida to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2014, SAVE passed comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals at the Miami-Dade County Commission.

During his five-year tenure, the organization has endorsed and helped elect a record seventy-five pro-equality leaders at all levels of government. In 2016, the organization created and implemented a groundbreaking model proven to have a lasting effect on reducing prejudice against the LGBTQ community. It has since become a national model for helping change hearts and minds.

SAVE is a grant recipient of the Miami Dolphins Football Unites program, created by owner Stephen Ross and multiple players. It was designed to create opportunities for South Florida-based individuals and organizations to strengthen and expand their impact around community engagement, education and criminal justice reform.

Through the launch of the Football Unites Grant Program, the Dolphins are supporting SAVE’s campaign to reduce anti-LGBT prejudice and to identify and build a list of supportive community members. I also has the opportunity to meet and speak with SAVE’s Executive Director Tony Lima.

I asked Tony what it is about football games that make this the perfect location for events like this. He said it is especially important in the sports world and non-traditional venues to be able to talk about LGBTQ issues. With today’s political climate, he feels that having the LGBTQ included in venues with other groups that fight against social injustice and to get the message out. It’s about changing the next generations. It’s all about having a voice in the community.

Being honored by the Miami Dolphins means the world to him. He is honored and told me he is speechless on how much this Miami Dolphins organization means to the LGBTQ community.


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