EI 2017 Gala Announcement

Equality Illinois 2017 Gala to Offer Vision for LGBTQ Rights
During Challenging Times

Longtime civil rights champions will also be honored at largest LGBTQ gala in Midwest

CHICAGO (January 31, 2017)–The Equality Illinois 2017 Gala this Saturday will feature individuals who have benefited from the work of the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, recognize those who have fought for equal rights and cared for our community, and offer a vision for the ongoing fight to improve the lived equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans.

More than 1,200 community members, community leaders, dignitaries, and supporters, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth and other elected officials, plan to attend the Gala, which is annually the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ formal celebration, on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the Hilton Chicago. Some of the world’s most recognizable corporate and brand names are among the sponsors of the gala.

Chicago Human Relations Commissioner Mona Noriega and Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove will be the 2017 recipients of the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for their lifelong commitment to fighting for the civil rights and personal freedoms of all Illinoisans. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago will receive the Equality Illinois Business Leadership Award for its dedication to improving the lives of LGBTQ Illinoisans.

In addition to the honorees, the Gala program will include Illinoisans who were assisted by the educational and advocacy work of Equality Illinois, said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

“Gala attendees will hear from allies with whom we’ve worked to fight discrimination, transgender Illinoisans who benefited by our work to make it easier to change government documents, a school board member we assisted in opposing anti-transgender rules, and a law enforcement psychologist who we work with to educate Cook County correctional cadets about LGBTQ issues,” Johnson said. “This is the work that we do daily, seeking to create a just and equal state for all.”

“At the same time,” he continued, “the challenges that LGBTQ Illinoisans regularly face, the anti-LGBTQ appointees of the new Trump administration, and efforts by opponents to roll back the progress we have achieved locally and nationally create an imperative that we develop a plan to maintain and build on our hard-won rights. At the gala, we will offer the outlines of an Illinois vision for strengthening LGBTQ equality over the next several years.”

In addition to Sen. Duckworth, public officials and candidates and civic leaders are planning to attend, including former Gov. Pat Quinn, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza, state Treasurer Mike Frerichs, U.S. Reps. Cheri Bustos, Robin Kelly, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Mike Quigley, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County State’s Atty. Kim Foxx, Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia,  Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, and many state legislators, local aldermen and judges.

Robust business support continues to back the gala and the ongoing work of Equality Illinois.

  • The presenting sponsor of the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala is Breakthru Beverage Illinois.
  • Platinum Sponsors are GCM Grosvenor and United Airlines.
  • Gold Sponsors are Tawani Foundation, Fred Eychaner Charitable Fund, JB and MK Pritzker Family Foundation, Sidetrack, MillerCoors, McDermott, Will, & Emery and Takeda.
  • Silver Sponsors are Celebrity Cruises, CNA,Exelon, Hilton Chicago, J&L Catering, Kirkland & Ellis, and Leo Burnett.
  • Bronze Sponsors are Akerman, Baker McKenzie, BMO Harris Bank, Chapman and Cutler LLP, Hinshaw, Mystic Images, Neal, Gerber, Eisenberg, Sidley Austin,Skadden, Seyfarth Shaw and Supergurl Images.
  • Media Sponsors are Best Gay Chicago, BoiMAG, GoPride, CS Modern Luxury, Grab Mag, The L Stop, Visual Wright, Windy City Media Group.

More details about the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala are available at www.equalityillinois.org/2017-gala.

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