State Rep. Ann Williams, D-11th Dist., hosted an LGBT breakfast Dec. 12 at Wishbone, 3300 N. Lincoln Ave. Roughly 40 community leaders gathered to network and brainstorm how best to further an LGBT-friendly agenda in Springfield.
As guests sat down to a complimentary breakfast, Chicago Public Schools Chief of Staff Todd Connor introduced Williams.
The freshman legislator spent five years in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office before launching into the political arena in 2010. An advocate for reproductive choice and LGBT adoption rights, Williams shared her vision for the coming year.
"I'm really hoping to get [same-sex marriage] sooner rather than later for the benefit of all families in my community," she said, before opening the floor to invited guests.
Local activists, including Bonnie Wade from the UCAN Home Host Program and Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov, brought pressing issues to Williams' attention. Many advocated anti-bullying policies and same-sex partner protections.
Khadine Bennett, an ACLU of Illinois staff attorney who regularly works in Springfield, shared problems she's been facing.
"[A big] issue is civil-union fatigue," Bennett said. "A lot of people felt that they took a really difficult vote, so you should never ask them for anything again. They're done because they made that one vote, even though they're elected leaders whose job is to vote on issues."
Williams promised to remain vigilant in Springfield and encouraged community leaders to partner for coordinated lobbying efforts.
Organizations represented at the Monday morning event included Howard Brown Health Center, ACLU of Illinois, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Civil Rights Agenda, Center on Halsted, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, the Lakeview YMCA and the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association.
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