Advisory Group Release

Equality Illinois Announces Statewide Community Advisory Group
28 LGBTQ people and allies to assist with policymaking at state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization

CHICAGO (December 5, 2016) – Equality Illinois on Monday announced the formation of its Community Advisory Group consisting of a diverse representation from 28 LGBTQ individuals and allies from across the state who will advise Equality Illinois in the policy development and agenda building necessary to secure and advance LGBTQ equality, social justice, and intersectional action in Illinois.

“We are thrilled to begin working with our inaugural Community Advisory Group,” said Mike Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.

“With members from all corners of Illinois–Carbondale to Chicago, Rock Island to Charleston–and from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences, we look forward to the Community Advisory Group informing, advising, and challenging us around opportunities for and obstacles to lived equality and inclusion in every part of Illinois,” Ziri said. “The timing is perfect as we are currently in the process of building our policy agenda for 2017 and beyond.”

The idea for the Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group grew out of the statewide listening tour conducted over the summer by Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson, during which he visited 12 communities and listened to stories shared by more than 200 LGBTQ people and allies.

“I heard troubling tales about a lack of access to affirming healthcare, the treatment of LGBTQ people in our criminal justice system, and the need for an inclusive educational system,” Johnson said. “The Community Advisory Group will contribute to our understanding of these and many more issues that LGBTQ Illinoisans experience every day. And, at a time when many LGBTQ individuals are feeling isolated, anxious, and frustrated about policymaking, we are dedicated to ensuring our policy agenda is developed through the consistent and ongoing engagement of many voices, perspectives, and lived experiences.”

Advisory Group members include a high school senior in Springfield; a recent immigrant from Nairobi, Kenya; college teachers from Herrin, Champaign, Jacksonville, and Chicago; local LGBTQ organization leaders in Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Carbondale, and Chicago; a college student in Charleston; a faith leader in Peoria; government and business people; the parent of a transgender daughter in Palatine; and community activists from many cities.

Read about each member of the Community Advisory Group at

Earlier this fall Equality Illinois called on interested stakeholders to apply for positions on the panel. Group members serve for about a year, but they may re-apply for a second year of membership.

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