Archive for the ‘Get Involved’ Category

 

Spring 2019 Network for Equality

March 5, 2019

Equality Illinois’ premier LGBTQ networking event, Network for Equality, is taking place Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm. This fun event serves as a space for LGBTQ people and allies to come together, network, and build community.  The funds raised support the work of Equality Illinois, the 501c4 arm of our organization working to build a more civically powerful LGBTQ community in the state of Illinois. For sponsorships or additional information, please reach out to Melissa Benge at mbenge@eqil.org.

 

Lori Lightfoot advances to the April 2 run-off election!

February 26, 2019

A statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, released the following statement following results of Tuesday’s municipal election in Chicago:

“While we wait for every vote to be counted, we are incredibly thrilled with the votes that have come in. We congratulate Lori Lightfoot for advancing to the April 2 run-off election and her historic candidacy as the first-ever openly queer person to run for mayor of Chicago. That is a significant milestone in Chicago and Illinois history. Representation matters. Now, let’s bring it home on April 2 and elect Lori Lightfoot Mayor of Chicago.”

 

Lets Talk Equality Act

February 15, 2019

At a time when anti-equality forces seek to establish licenses to discriminate against civil rights protections in state legislatures and courts across the country, we are proud to live in a state with strong LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections in the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Yet, when LGBTQ Illinoisans travel outside of our great state, our rights and equal treatment are subject to the zip code in which we may work or visit. Some states and cities have inclusive protections, but most do not.

That’s why Equality Illinois supports the federal Equality Act to include LGBTQ people in national civil rights protections.

To celebrate the re-introduction of the Equality Act in the 116th U.S. Congress, we are proud to partner with U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8) for an educational roundtable discussion about the Equality Act on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

RSVP Here:https://act.myngp.com/Forms

We hope you can attend and learn more about the Equality Act and how our members of Congress and Equality Illinois are fighting to advance justice for LGBTQ people in Illinois and across America.

 

Equality Illinois supports bill SB 1 – $15 minimum wage

February 11, 2019

As an issue of fairness and justice to LGBTQ people, Equality Illinois supports increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $15.00. LGBTQ people should have the opportunity to provide for their families and establish economic security without burden or discrimination. Yet, our community is disproportionately affected by poverty.

Research shows that members of the LGBTQ community report lower incomes and higher rates of poverty than the general population .According to the 2018 report “Intersecting Injustice: A National Call to Action Addressing LGBTQ Poverty and Economic Justice for All” by the LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative, 25% of LGBT people experienced a period over the last year when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family, as compared to 18% of non-LGBT people. The statistics are higher when race is considered. For instance, 37% of black LGBT individuals said they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family. Black same-sex couples are roughly three times more likely to live in poverty than white same-sex couples.

The Movement Advancement Project also reports that transgender people nationally are nearly four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 per year as the population as a whole (15 percent vs. 4 percent). According to the Illinois data of the 2015 US Trans Survey, 21% of transgender Illinoisans report living in poverty.

A $15 minimum wage can elevate many LGBTQ people out of poverty and provide an opportunity for greater economic security for us and our families. In a 2014 study, the Williams Institute at UCLA predicted that raising the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 to $15 an hour would reduce LGBT poverty by one-third for male same-sex couples and by almost one-half for female same-sex couples. The percentage of poor female same-sex couples would fall from 6.9% to 3.7%, a 46% drop in poverty. Poverty among men in same-sex couples would fall from 3.4% to 2.2%, a drop of 35% in poverty. The poverty rates of married different-sex couples would also decrease from 5.6% to 3.1%. Almost 30,000 people in same-sex couples would see their incomes rise above the federal poverty level.

These numbers demonstrate why raising the minimum wage in Illinois would have affirming impacts on the lives of LGBTQ Illinoisans. We urge the Illinois General Assembly to pass the bill, increase the state’s minimum wage to $15, and advance justice for LGBTQ people.

 


Emerging Leaders Circle

February 9, 2019

ARE YOU AN EMERGING LEADER?

Equality Illinois is seeking a select, powerful, active group of young professionals to become the next generation of LGBTQ leaders. Equality Illinois envisions a fair and unified Illinois where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and where all people live freely regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression.

Ask yourself these questions:

  •  Are you 35 or younger?
  •  Do you care about advancing LGBTQ equality throughout our state?
  •  Do you believe in Equality Illinois’ key priorities: Policy, People, and Power?

POLICY–We defend our civil rights wins from anti-LGBTQ attacks and advance pro-LGBTQ policies with a focus on education, health care, and criminal justice.

PEOPLE–We work to get LGBTQ leaders in positions of influence throughout the state with an emphasis on placing LGBTQ Illinoisans on key state boards and commissions.

POWER–We create a civically-powerful statewide network of LGBTQ champions by identifying, training, and supporting LGBTQ and allied community groups throughout the state so they can grow and embolden their base.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, become an Equality Illinois emerging leader! Participation begins at $50/month or $600/year. Membership in The Emerging Leaders Circle includes recognition in our Annual Report, advanced notice of upcoming events, and complimentary entry to our Pre-Pride Parade reception.

 

INCLUSIVE CURRICULUM BILL

February 5, 2019

BREAKING: The Inclusive Curriculum Bill (HB 246) just passed the Illinois House Education School Curriculum Committee! The vote was 13-7. Thank you to sponsor State Rep. Anna Moeller! The bill, which is an initiative of Equality Illinois, The Legacy Project, and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, will include the contributions of LGBTQ people in the history curriculum in public schools.

Contact your state representative now: tinyurl.com/IllinoisInclusiveCurriculum.

 

LGBTQ FORUM WITH THE CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATES

January 5, 2019

With the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans under attack by the Trump Administration and the urgent need to continue our pro-equality progress in the City of Chicago, LGBTQ Chicagoans need to know where the candidates for mayor stand on the many issues of interest and importance to our lives.

LGBTQ community organizations Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, the Equality Illinois Institute, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Pride Action Tank, and the Windy City Times are hosting the LGBTQ Forum with the Mayoral Candidates at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

Please join us at this important public forum. To attend, please RSVP by clicking on the register button.

Can’t make it to the LGBTQ Mayoral Forum but still have questions for the candidates? Submit your questions by clicking on the question submission button.

This event precedes Chicago’s mayoral election on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

 

Year-End Giving

December 26, 2018

As Equality Illinois comes to the end of another successful year of serving LGBTQ Illinoisans, we want to THANK YOU for your contributions and volunteer service! Today, we are calling on your support to participate in our annual “Year-End Giving Campaign” as we continue to pave a future free of bias, bigotry, and discrimination. Your contribution will continue work that proves hate is not an Illinois value. In 2019 we look forward to continuing to be a shining example of what it means to standing on the frontlines of social and political advocacy.

Your commitment of a “Year End” pledge or a one time annual gift, will allow Equality Illinois an opportunity to continue our legacy and tradition of education, advocacy, and service for years to come.

For any other gifts please contact our Director of Corporate Partnerships & Individual Giving, Melissa Benge at mbenge@eqil.org  or 773.477.7173.

 


An LGBTQ youth’s identity is never disruptive

December 20, 2018

 

 

 

December 20, 2018

Daniel Mair
Superintendent

Steve Nauman
President of the Board of Education

Kate Williams
Principal

Germantown Hills School District #69
103 Warriors Way, Germantown Hills, IL 61548

Dear Superintendent Mair, President Nauman, and Principal Williams:

On behalf of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, I write to express my dismay in Principal William’s letter to parents last week. By claiming that an LGBTQ youth’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity is disruptive, without any mention that she believes a straight or cisgender youth’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity might do the same, sets a harmful double standard.  This double standard is inconsistent with best practices for supporting youth, with Illinois laws such as the Illinois Human Rights Act, and our values as Illinoisans. An LGBTQ youth’s identity is never disruptive.

Educators have a sacred duty to protect and affirm children and young people. To that end, the laws of the State of Illinois strive to create an affirming and respectful environment for all students, including those from historically marginalized communities. Laws like the LGBTQ-inclusive Human Rights Act and anti-bullying protections, which have all been adopted with bipartisan support, reflect the values of the Land of Lincoln that all students should be treated with dignity, should be affirmed, and should have the freedom to learn and grow without burden or hostility.

Yet, even in a pro-equality state like Illinois, school life for LGBTQ youth is challenging. According to Illinois data from the U.S. Trans Survey (2015), 80% of individuals who were out or perceived as transgender at some point in their K–12 education experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, or physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgender. Furthermore, based on GLSEN’s 2015 School Climate Survey, we know only 27% of LGBTQ youth in Illinois report hearing anything positive about LGBTQ people – people just like them – in the classroom. We must all do better to support LGBTQ youth.

The school district’s proposition – that expression of only LGBTQ youth’s sexual orientation or identity is disruptive – is harmful. LGBTQ youth who experience rejection and social stigmatization are more likely to have high levels of depression, more likely to engage in substance abuse, and more likely to attempt suicide.

And the presence of a rule doesn’t inherently make it fair or even reasonable. The lack of inclusivity and compassion by school administrators is telling and alarming in its implications for what other biases may come into play while educating students. School boards should create environments that affirm each and every student and facilitate the educational process with excellence and dignity.

We urge the Germantown Hills District #69 Board of Education and school administrators to re-evaluate your position and affirm the dignity of each young person in a way that does not further marginalize LGBTQ young people. If we can be of any further assistance, including in setting up trainings regarding LGBTQ cultural competency or as a sounding board for your questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (773) 477-7173 or bjohnson@eqil.org.

Sincerely,

Brian C. Johnson
Chief Executive Officer

 

LGBTQ Forum with the Chicago Mayoral Candidates

December 10, 2018

With the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans under attack by the Trump Administration and the urgent need to continue our pro-equality progress in the City of Chicago, LGBTQ Chicagoans need to know where the candidates for mayor stand on the many issues of interest and importance to our lives.

LGBTQ community organizations Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, the Equality Illinois Institute, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Pride Action Tank, and the Windy City Times are hosting the LGBTQ Forum with the Mayoral Candidates at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. The mayoral election is on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

Please join us at this important public forum. To attend, please RSVP by clicking on the register button.

 

Commit to Vote 2018

August 22, 2018

There is so much at stake for LGBTQ Illinoisans on Nov. 6 at the general election. That’s why Equality Illinois and our partners are teaming up to demonstrate the electoral power of LGBTQ equality voters.

Through the Commit to Vote initiative, we aim to engage LGBTQ equality voters to vote on Nov. 6.

Commit to vote today. We won’t go back when we vote

 

Apply for 2018-19 Community Advisory Group

July 19, 2018

As part of our commitment to an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders across Illinois, Equality Illinois launched the Community Advisory Group in 2016. The group is a diverse cross-section of voices from across Illinois that informs the policy positions and initiatives we adopt and pursue in our work to secure and defend the equal and inclusive rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans.

If you’re interested, go to the application page to review the objectives and responsibilities of the Community Advisory Group, then download, complete, and return the form.

We want to make sure the Community Advisory Group includes the diverse views of LGBTQ Illinoisans from every corner of the state. Together, we will advance justice and equality in Illinois.

MORE INFORMATION and APPLICATION

 


Chicago City Club Hosts First LGBTQ Presentation

June 22, 2018

The City Club of Chicago hosted a historic event on June 19, 2018, its first discussion of LGBTQ issues at this well-known and respected public forum, whose co-founder was Jane Addams.

Led by Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson, the panel featured Tracy Baim of Windy City Times, Kim L. Hunt of Pride Action Tank, David Ernesto Munar of Howard Brown Health, and trans resource navigator Reyna Ortiz.

The full program, Taking Pride in Our Story: Chicago and Its LGBTQ Community, can be watched here:

A report on the panel discussion was posted by Windy City Times.

 

Honor Them With Action

June 12, 2018

On the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Equality Illinois joins with our friends at Equality Florida to issue a call to #HonorThemWithAction.

Connect with organizations that take action to dismantle anti-LGBTQ violence, hatred, and discrimination. Help make your community and your state safer, better, and more equal.
There were 49 murdered and 53 injured in the shooting, most of them Latinx LGBTQ.

We will not forget.

 

Rally Today in Support of Illinois Human Rights Law

June 4, 2018

Monday at 5:30pm in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Adams streets, join a community rally in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling allowing a Colorado baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

We will call on Illinois businesses and the state to understand there is no change to the Illinois Human Rights Act that requires LGBTQ and other protected people to be served without discrimination.

 

Show your Pride: SHOW UP. SPEAK UP!

June 1, 2018

Welcome to the Equality Illinois Pride Month campaign to SHOW UP. SPEAK UP! During June, we encourage you to show the colors by showing up and speaking up in many ways:

• SHOW UP at a community pride event scheduled in towns throughout Illinois as well as in many schools, businesses, and faith institutions to demonstrate that we are part of every organization in every corner of Illinois, as demonstrated by the EI Pride Shield designed by artist Todd Mack and donated to Equality Illinois by Kit and Jonelle Welch.

• Support the ongoing work of organizations such as Equality Illinois that fight for LGBTQ civil rights or provide health and social services to people in your community.

• SPEAK UP! by participating in this election season to ensure that LGBTQ voices are heard and also by being involved in the issues locally, statewide, and nationally that impact our community.

 


In last week of session: Pass the LGBTQ Inclusive History Bill

May 17, 2018

CALL TO ACTION: The LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill is now in the House floor as the final push for action on major legislation is underway in the General Assembly before the scheduled May 31 adjournment.

There is vocal opposition to the bill. We need you to raise your voice in support of the bill and get it to the governor’s desk.

Do not delay! Contact your House member TODAY to ask for a YES vote on SB 3249.

 

Tell Illinois House: Ratify ERA

May 16, 2018

Take Action Today: The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing all people equal treatment under the law regardless of their sex, is now in the Illinois House, with a vote on ratification hopefully taken before the May 31 adjournment.

Act now to tell your state representative to vote YES.

In a committee hearing Wednesday morning, the amendment passed on a party line vote of seven Democrats voting “yes” and five Republicans voting “no.” Opponents continue to deploy specious arguments such as that that it would mandate co-ed prisons and bathrooms.

The right wing is working overtime to try to stop ERA from being added to the Constitution. You must tell the Illinois House it can no longer delay ratifying ERA.

 

Counter opponents’ name calling against Curriculum Bill

April 17, 2018

Our opponents are resorting to vicious name calling when they talk to Illinois legislators about the #LGBTQ Curriculum Bill. We believe our history should be part of school curriculum so that all students will have a more thorough understanding of history.

Click to email your legislators and tell them: Pass the Inclusive Curriculum Bill.

 

 

Vote Tuesday to Support LGBTQ-Supportive Officials

March 19, 2018

Your vote on Tuesday could make the difference in electing LGBTQ-supportive public officials.

To learn your polling place, click HERE.

To learn more about candidates endorsed for their commitments to LGBTQ equality, please click HERE.

With strong headwinds on the national level against LGBTQ civil rights, it is important to vote to make sure Illinois retains its pro-LGBTQ leadership.

 


Vote Early This St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

March 16, 2018

On St. Patrick’s Day, take a few minutes to vote early for the Illinois Primary. There are polling places open this weekend throughout Illinois. Find locations and hours HERE.

We have seen important elections swing on a handful of votes, so your vote could make the difference in electing LGBTQ-friendly officials.

With strong headwinds on the national level against LGBTQ civil rights, it is important to vote to make sure Illinois retains its pro-LGBTQ leadership.

EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS

 

Vote Early in Illinois

March 10, 2018

Early Voting for the March 20 Illinois primary continues, including at many locations this weekend. Click to find convenient locations and hours in all 102 Illinois counties plus municipal election authorities. Remember, some cities such as Chicago have their own election authorities.

EARLY VOTING INFO

 

Tell legislators: Our history is NOT offensive

February 28, 2018

“Outrageous and offensive” and an “…effort to politicize curriculum in order to advance biased beliefs…”

That’s how a right-wing anti-equality organization recently described the Inclusive Curriculum Bill introduced in Springfield this month. The bill ensures the inclusion of the roles and contributions of LGBTQ people in curriculum in Illinois.

Tell your elected leaders that our history is NOT offensive.

The bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Anna Moeller, 43rd District.

 

Participate in the SHOW UP, SPEAK UP! agenda

February 8, 2018

It’s time for the Equality Illinois Show Up. Speak Up! 2018 Agenda. Your Equality Illinois team is on the case in Springfield and working to ensure that LGBTQ issues are included in this election across the state. We are asking you to join us in this work and make sure your voices are heard.
· Attend the Chicago Equality Action Academy Feb. 10 or Feb. 11 to learn how to work on elections.
· Show up at the LGBTQ Forum with District 115 candidates in Carbondale on March 6..
· Participate in the Women of Color Candidates Forum in Chicago on March 8.
· Register to vote in the Illinois primary.
· Attend the Equality Illinois Election Party at Sidetrack on March 20.
· Lobby your legislator April 11 on Equality Illinois LGBTQ Advocacy Day in Springfield.

 


#METOO

October 16, 2017

At Equality Illinois, our hearts swell with love at the bravery we are seeing from so many people sharing #metoo. We are sorry we live in a world where the #metoo campaign even has to exist, and we promise to be vigilant in working with you to eradicate sexual harassment and assault.