In recognition of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) History Month, the Board of The Legacy Project has announced plans for a celebratory Kick-Off Gala Luncheon to initiate the one-year campaign to bring THE LEGACY WALK to Halsted Street. "LEGACY WALK: Bringing GLBT History Home" will take place in the Empire Room of Chicago's legendary Palmer House Hotel on October 25th, from Noon to 1:30p. The luncheon program will be preceded by a VIP Reception with a preview of the organization's massive 42-piece display/tribute to all of those who will be inducted onto THE LEGACY WALK in 2012. Though the list of Inductees is a closely guarded secret, nominees from the group's website include people as diverse as social justice pioneer Jane Addams; Bayard Rustin, Dr. Martin Luther King's speechwriter; Mexican artist Frida Kahlo; and British mathematician Alan Turing, the "Father of Computer Science" who broke the Nazi's "Enigma Code" to defeat Adolph Hitler.
A special video presentation and an address by keynote speaker Cleve Jones, creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, will be the central features of the luncheon program. "It is extremely humbling to have Cleve come to Chicago to talk about The Legacy Walk," said Victor Salvo, The Legacy Project's creator and Executive Director. "As the man behind the NAMES Project Quilt, Cleve will share his unique perspectives on the power of a personal vision, the challenges of bringing to life something destined to change the way GLBT people are perceived and the unique role Chicago will be playing in advancing the national debate about GLBT contributions to history. He has been a remarkable source of inspiration for me."
Salvo went on to say that it was only fitting to have Jones as the featured speaker since the idea for The Legacy Walk was conceived while viewing the NAMES Project Quilt for the very first time at the National March on Washington for GLBT Civil Rights in 1987. "Our community was being decimated by a plague and it seemed most of the public was rooting for the plague. All I could think of was "Who will remember those who came before us once we're gone?" Jones has since become a good friend and advisor to Salvo, helping to guide the development of The Legacy Project. "I jumped at the chance to speak at the luncheon when Victor contacted me" said Jones. "We have been talking about The Legacy Walk for years and I am so impressed by the work that has been done and how it is all coming together. It is truly going to be extraordinary. I hope to explain, from my perspective, just how important what Chicago is doing is going to be for GLBT people everywhere."
Salvo said "Those of us who have survived both the AIDS epidemic and the cultural tumult of the last 25 years owe it to our ancestors to make sure they are not forgotten — this recognition is long overdue. We know Cleve's presence will help drive home the importance of bringing public awareness to the many contributions GLBT people have made to world history and culture."
THE LEGACY WALK will be dedicated on October 11, 2012 — "National Coming-Out Day." Located in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, it will feature thirty-six (36) bronze memorial plaques affixed to the "Rainbow Pylons" which designate Chicago's "Boystown" as the nexus of the local GLBT community. Each 18" x 24" memorial marker will bear the likeness of an Inductee along with a 300-word paragraph describing their life and accomplishments. Upon its completion it will be the only memorial walk of its kind in the world.
THE LEGACY WALK has been endorsed by dozens of educators, historians, community activists, business leaders and elected officials — including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn — whose letters of support will be prominently displayed at the October luncheon. "We are delighted to have their support" said Salvo. "It means the world to us to know all of these people recognize the importance of remembering and honoring the contributions GLBT people have made. It is especially important for GLBT youth who are forced to grow up without historically significant role models. We hope THE LEGACY WALK will lessen their sense of cultural isolation, and the vulnerability they feel, by challenging the ignorance from which anti-gay bullying springs."
The Legacy Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased for a tax-deductible contribution of $125. VIP tickets for $250 will also include a private reception with Cleve Jones and a preview of the exhibit. Tickets are available on-line via the group's website at www.legacyprojectchicago.org/Luncheon_Tickets.html. For more information contact Victor Salvo at 312-608-1198 or firstname.lastname@example.org .