2020 Honoree – Maulik Pancholy
Maulik is an award-winning actor, author and activist whose work has spanned hit television shows, the Broadway stage and films. He is best known for playing Jonathan on NBC’s award-winning comedy 30 Rock, Sanjay on the Showtime hit series Weeds, and Neal on the NBC comedy Whitney. He is also the voice of Baljeet on Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, and the title voice of Sanjay on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig – the first lead Indian-American character on a network cartoon.
Maulik’s debut novel, The Best at It, was named a 2020 Stonewall Honor Book, a 2019 Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, The American Library Association’s Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. Drawn from his own experience, the book is about a twelve-year-old, gay, Indian American boy coming into his own. It has been called at once, “exuberant and heart-wrenching.”
In 2014, Maulik was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). During his three-year tenure as a Commissioner, he co-founded the anti-bullying campaign, Act to Change, which he continues to Chair today. As an activist, Maulik has long been an advocate for the AAPI and LGBTQIA+ communities. He is the recipient of the Asian American Arts Alliance Award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award, and was named to Out Magazine’s Top 100 list.