Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Day in the Life of: a DNC diversity-working-group member, Zach Wilcha
by Paige Cooperstein/Philadelphia Gay News
2016-07-22

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Zach Wilcha already had a coffee meeting ( although he drank water; he doesn't like coffee ) and a 20-minute phone call with an LGBT business owner by the time he biked to his glass-walled office at the Industrious Workspace on Broad Street on a recent Thursday morning.

Independence Business Alliance, the region's LGBT chamber of commerce, moved to the trendy space in March. There's a popcorn machine in the lobby on the 17th floor and succulents on the tables.

"These are my Melanie Griffith 'Working Girl' shoes that I wear on the commute," Wilcha said as he pulled off his sneakers and stowed them under his desk. He pulled on some wingtips while he opened his email.

He's been intimately involved in planning for the Democratic National Convention, so LGBT business owners could take advantage of the 50,000 people expected to flock to Philadelphia July 25-28.

"Philadelphia's having a real moment," Wilcha said. "It's been fantastic, from the pope to the DNC. We really are on the world stage right now. As people come to recognize us as a world-class city, it's important that LGBT people, and especially the LGBT business community, have a voice in Philadelphia's growth.

"People didn't necessarily frequent the businesses [when the pope came in September]," he added. "The DNC has been excited to share Philadelphia's commerce with the world."

Wilcha has served as a member of the Diversity Working Group with the local host committee since October, when he became the IBA's first executive director. The group is nearing the end of its work to help the DNC with its commitment to spend 35 percent of its budget with diverse businesses.

Two LGBT-owned businesses have received contracts for work associated with the convention, one from Atlanta and one from Orlando.

"If all conventions that came to town used that model," he said, "it'd be a lot more business for LGBT processionals and it'd be a real feather in Philadelphia's cap to make that happen."

In the immediate future, Wilcha wanted to follow up with the DNC to find out if local LGBT businesspeople could be connected with attendees of the LGBT caucuses, which are open to the public during the convention.

Jess Gregan, who started with the IBA in May, said she's heard Wilcha described as a duck and she agrees.

"His legs are always paddling beneath the surface, but on the surface everything runs smoothly," she said. "Prior to me, Zach was doing everything. It's been a transition to delegate some of the work. But we complement each other."

As the chamber's administrative assistant, Gregan attended an event organized by the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority while Wilcha continued planning for the packed week of the convention.

Member businesses should use demlist.com to connect with resources, Wilcha said, adding they could bring people into their establishments by using #DNCDeals on social media. Creative deals will be featured on phldnc.com .

In addition to serving as an institution where LGBT business owners can turn for DNC information, the IBA is also hosting its first mixer in Bucks County July 26 and connecting people for the counter-protest of the Westboro Baptist Church at the Mazzoni Center earlier that day.

Rich Horrow, IBA's board president, said Wilcha's ability to develop new partnerships is pivotal to the chamber.

"He really increased our bandwidth," Horrow said. "He's grown our relationships in the community. He's everywhere. It's really about those relationships."

He has a dry sense of humor that always lightens the mood, Horrow added.

Wilcha is a veteran runner with three marathons, 17 half-marathons and seven Broad Street Runs under his belt. He also loves to read fiction, recently finishing "Beijing Comrades," about a relationship between two men in the 1990s. It was banned in China and recently translated into English.

As the IBA heads into its 10th year, Wilcha has two big projects on the brain: increasing the racial diversity of the chamber's members and starting an economic-empowerment initiative for the transgender community, which would educate businesses on hiring more transgender employees and connect transgender entrepreneurs. The work requires meeting with a lot of stakeholders, including LGBT people who may not yet be chamber members.

"Being able to be the person who's able to take the time to listen to what others say has been instrumental in helping us grow," Wilcha said.

Two Gayborhood locations in PoliticalFest

The Gayborhood in Philadelphia boasts two of the seven locations the public can visit as part of PoliticalFest, which opens today and runs through July 27.

The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St., has an exhibit on presidential archives featuring a life mask of George Washington, a death mask of Abraham Lincoln and memorabilia from 19th-century African-American political conventions, among other things.

The Historical Society of Philadelphia, 1300 Locust St., will display founding documents including a constitution of the Women's Suffrage Association with a note by Susan B. Anthony and a lithograph of the Emancipation Proclamation, among other artifacts.

"It's a great way to get some residents out and about and to get attendees to parts of the city they might not otherwise explore," said Angela Val, deputy executive director of Philadelphia 2016, the host committee for the Democratic National Convention. The convention is not open to the public.

Tickets for PoliticalFest, which anyone can attend, cost $15 and offer access all six days.

As mayor of Philadelphia, Ed Rendell created the event for the Republican National Convention when it came to the city in 2000. All activities took place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Organizers wanted to branch out to more locations to show off the museum-quality institutions that have sprung up in Philadelphia in the last 16 years.

LeapStarr Productions, a women-owned company from Moorestown, N.J., earned the contract to produce PoliticalFest.

"Having the opportunity to be a part of such a historic political event in our hometown is certainly a privilege beyond our wildest expectations," Elizabeth Jenkins-Santana, LeapStarr's CEO, said in a statement. "We look forward to representing Philadelphia on a national platform."

The hub of PoliticalFest will be at the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. At the main stage, attendees can watch two political-themed game shows and an interview series called, "Executive Powers: Celebrity Q&A," during which actors who have portrayed the president or other political heavyweights will be interviewed. Highlights include Tony Goldwyn from "Scandal" and Melissa Fitzgerald from "The West Wing."

The other locations include Hall F of the Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.; the National Liberty Museum, 312 Chestnut St.; the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, 15 S. Seventh St.; and the Heritage Center at the Union League, 140 S. Broad St.

Philadelphia expects to see 50,000 people come to town for the convention. That's less than the 70,000 people who flood the city during an Eagles home game. Val said she hoped Philadelphians would stay in town for the convention to take advantage of PoliticalFest and other public activities.

"We wanted to make sure all the residents are acting as hosts," she said, "We wanted to make sure people felt involved even if not on the convention floor."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Undocumented LGBTQ+ activists speak on importance of voting 2020-10-23
--From a press release - Los Angeles, CA. - Queer and undocumented filmmaker Armando Ibañez is releasing the videos of 9 undocumented LGTQ+ activists speaking on the importance of the 2020 elections to undocumented communities as part of the #VotaJota digital ...


Gay News

LGBTQAs plan "Get Out The Vote" event for Michigan candidate 2020-10-22
--From a press release - Chicago, IL — Members of Chicagoland's LGBTQ+ Allies community have organized a COVID-19 responsible day of "Get Out The Vote" (GOTV) canvassing in Southwest Michigan's Berrien County on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020 to turn out ...


Gay News

Virtual Town Hall on Cook County budget Oct. 23 2020-10-21
--From a press release - SCHAUMBURG, Ill. —October 21, 2020— Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison will host a live Virtual Town Hall discussing the Cook County 2021 Budget on Friday at 1:30 p.m. He will be joined by Cook County ...


Gay News

Lightfoot releases 2021 budget proposal 2020-10-21
- On Oct. 21, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot presented to City Council the 2021 budget recommendations—described in a press release as "a fiscally responsible spending plan that leads the City along the road to recovery from the ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois town hall focuses on 2020 vote 2020-10-19
- Equality Illinois held an Oct. 19 town hall discussion to discuss the current state of the voting process. A relatively-energized electorate is expected to show up to the polls by Nov. 3—which has been referred to ...


Gay News

Diversity report: More than 1,000 LGBTQs running for office 2020-10-19
- LGBTQ Victory Fund— the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office—released its inaugural "Out on the Trail" report, which details the diversity of LGBTQ candidates who ran for office in 2020. At ...


Gay News

LGBT HISTORY: QAnon's 'SaveOurChildren' slogan has long anti-LGBT history 2020-10-17
by Christiana Lilly - Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen recently shared devastating news with her social media followers: she and her husband, singer John Legend, had lost their child halfway through her pregnancy. She shared heartbreaking black-and-white photos of ...


Gay News

Jeannie Tanner releases inspirational song, art-inclusive video 2020-10-17
- Local singer-songwriter Jeannie Tanner has released her new single and video, "I Wanna Be the Change." According to a press release, the song was inspired by many of the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ...


Gay News

Major advocacy organizations mailing to highlight candidate Morrison's record 2020-10-16
--From a press release - SPRINGFIELD - As the race to represent HD 54 heats up in the final weeks, with wealthy right-wing interests writing big checks to try and shield Tom Morrison from the backlash to his toxic record, members ...


Gay News

Linda Ronstadt, Danny Glover, Beto O' Rourke in 'All Souls to the Polls' 2020-10-14
- More than 50 artists, social justice and grassroots activists from across the country have created two nights of concerts to spur national voter turnout, with "All Souls to the Polls" on Oct. 17-18 at 7 p.m. ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois condemns transphobic posts by State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi 2020-10-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO - Newly exposed discriminatory comments show it's deja vu in DuPage County following racist and homophobic remarks by State Rep. Amy Grant last month. The Patch reported that voters learned that state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi ...


Gay News

'Lives at Stake' virtual panel Oct. 19 2020-10-14
- On Monday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Rainbow Railroad, joined by the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Chicago chapter, will present a unique and timely virtual panel discussion entitled, "Lives at Stake: Implications of the U.S. Election ...


Gay News

LGBT issues front and center on Barrett hearing second day 2020-10-14
- LGBT issues were front and center in Day Two of the confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, with Democrats and even a few Republicans attempting to clarify how she might approach such ...


Gay News

Born Perfect responds to Barrett's use of "preference" 2020-10-13
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today during confirmation hearings in front of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett used the dangerous term "sexual preference" when responding to Sen. Dianne Feinstein about her commitment to ...


Gay News

Transphobic ad attacks U.S. House candidate Gina Ortiz Jones 2020-10-13
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ people to public office, condemned the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) for releasing a transphobic ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs     
Privacy Policy      Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.