Christine Leinonen of The Dru Project accepts GLAAD Media Award for CNN Anderson Cooper 360 Pulse special

In June 2017, to commemorate the one year memorial of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, Anderson Cooper 360 offered a powerful recount and commentary on the shooting in Orlando, FL. Cooper's special report "The Pulse of Orlando: Terror at the Nightclub," aired on CNN and focused on stories of Orlando's LGBTQ community and others impacted by Pulse.

Last week, the special received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism - Newsmagazine. There to accept the award was Christine Leinonen, mother of Christopher Andrew Leinonen. She appeared in the special to speak about her son and her ongoing work to help LGBTQ youth. After Pulse she helped form The Dru Project in memory of Christopher and his partner Juan. The Dru Project, based in Orlando, works with GSAs around the country and gives scholarships to LGBTQ youth. The organization is run by LGBTQ advocates Shawn Chaudhry, Brittany Sted, Sara Grossman, JP Cortes, and Brandon Wolf, who also attended this year's GLAAD Media Awards and has been a powerful voice for gun reform in Florida and around the country. 

The impactful and inspiring Dru Project is next hosting a Pulse memorial event in Orlando on Sunday, June 10 where they will announce scholarship winners. TV stars and LGBTQ advocates Jonathan Bennett and Jaymes Vaughn will host the event.  

Christine Leinonen

“I’m so thankful to GLAAD for recognizing Pulse and the ongoing work to help LGBTQ youth in Orlando and around the country. LGBTQ youth need to know they are loved,” said Leinonen. “CNN, Anderson Cooper, and the team at AC360 shined the light into the darkness that was the Pulse shooting and I’m proud to have helped them tell this important story.”