Awards of Courage
Honoring with Pride 2006 Honoree
Florent Morellet is a leading New York City social activist and restaurateur. Since immigrating to New York from France in 1978, he has been an influential advocate on issues ranging from gay rights and AIDS to reproductive freedom and architectural preservation. He has made his renowned Restaurant Florent, in the heart of the Meatpacking District, a springboard for grassroots activism for over twenty years.
Since the beginning of the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s, Florent has played a major role in generating AIDS awareness and fighting against the epidemic. His legendary Bastille Day celebrations have been major fund raisers for Housing Works, New York’s largest AIDS service organization, and he presently sits on the group’s advisory board. In addition, he and the restaurant have been prominent fund raisers for Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, the Gay and Lesbian Center, and God’s Love We Deliver. In 1987, Florent became an advocate of aid in dying and joined the board of Choice in Dying, a Manhattan-based national human rights group. He is now a board member of National Compassion and Choices and president of Compassion and Choices New York.
Florent, an artist whose work has been exhibited in New York, Germany, and France, is actively involved in preserving the unique character of the Meatpacking District. He is co-chair of Save Gansevoort Market and a board member of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
Working locally to support national change, Florent has organized bus trips to carry New Yorkers to Washington for rallies and marches, including the pro-choice march of 1992, the gay rights march of 1993, the peace march of 2002, the anti-war march of 2003, and the pro-choice march of 2004.
This is a significant month for Florent. In addition to being recognized tonight at Honoring with Pride, Florent will be one of this year’s grand marshals at the Gay Pride March. He will be sitting alongside his longtime friend and ally Christine Quinn, speaker of the City Council, the first woman to hold the post and the first openly gay person to head the chamber.