The Equality Illinois Freedom Award, which honors individuals who demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals in Illinois, will be presented to Jim Bennett at the 2018 Equality Illinois Gala.
The gala will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 in the Hilton Chicago. Gala information, including tickets, is at equalityillinois.org/2018gala.
For more than a decade as Midwest Regional Director and recently as Chief Development Officer, Bennett has contributed his strong and powerful voice for our community through his work at Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated to securing the full civil rights of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV.
“We will always be grateful to Jim for taking on the Herculean task of chairing the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition, which pulled together LGBTQ organizations, Republicans and Democrats, labor and business and many more for the successful campaign to win marriage equality in Illinois,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.
Bennett, reacting to the honor, reflected on the importance of the statewide work of Equality Illinois. “Springfield is my hometown. When I came out, I did what ‘everyone does’, I moved to Chicago. I am thankful to Equality Illinois for always seeing Illinois as one state, and I’m thrilled to be part of their efforts to make sure equality reaches all the way across the Land of Lincoln because we really are everywhere,” Bennett said.
“No matter how good we’ve done as a movement in gaining political power and public acceptance, we still find ourselves too often on the outside. We need to know how to play the game as insiders and how to fight for our rights in the streets. I am thankful that Equality Illinois has my back. They are pros at working with our leaders in the General Assembly to stop bad legislation from seeing the light of day and moving good bills. I feel protected.”