The historical Jeffrey Pub, 7041 S. Jeffery, became another instrument of change April 28 when it hosted a much-needed discussion about the current state and the future of Chicago's South Side Black gay community. 7th Ward Alderman Sandra 'Sandi' Jackson—accompanied by her husband, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.—spoke on her political positions and what she plans to do to implement her main agenda, change.
'I came into this position naively, thinking that I could snap my fingers and everything would be OK,' stated an enthusiastic Alderman Jackson. 'I know that, if we work together, we can make change. It's going to take time but it can happen.'
Jackson also talked about South Side development proposals that would provide growth that could potentially help the entire community: 'We are doing marketing analysis on things like a space for an artist community on 75th St. and a Jazz Row to bring the bistros and musicians right here.'
Jackson also extended her concerns about the LGBT community: 'Aside from development, a social community is very important. Better treatment of LGBT people is essential for economic development because we are all in this community.'
The night was full of surprises, such as appearances from various LGBT community leaders and awards given to the Red Ribbon crew—consisting of Ben Montgomery, Michael O'Connor and Marc Loveless—for its efforts and accomplishments in the struggle for HIV/AIDS. The crew's most recent achievement is the Red Ribbon lottery ticket that allots 100 percent of its proceeds to improving the lives of those with HIV/AIDS.
Another attendee, Walker Tisdale of Howard Brown Health Center, came out 'to show support and get a sense of what's going on.' he said. 'I am really encouraged to come out and hear the politicians speak about important issues, such as HIV/AIDS, even in a non-election year.'
Alderman Jackson remained open and frank about her objective and where LGBT people fit in: 'We don't have particular goals—in regards to the LGBT community—right now but once we get past the first stages, future goals will be initiated for all people.'
Photos by Mark Corece