CHICAGO—Two Illinois activists are 2018 Equality Illinois Community Pride Honorees for their strong, ongoing leadership on LGBTQ issues, Equality Illinois announced Friday.
Nicole Bashor, who spearheads support for political candidates in Illinois who back pro-LGBTQ policies, and SaÃšl Aviña Jr., who has spent a decade working on HIV treatment and prevention programs, will be recognized at the Equality Illinois Pride Kickoff Brunch on Sunday, June 3 at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St., Chicago.
"Every year at the Pride Brunch we highlight Illinois activists whose work has improved LGBTQ lives in the state," said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the civil rights organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Illinoisans.
"Through her work on the Equality Illinois PAC board, Nicole Bashor has helped Illinois legislators who have taken tough votes on issues such as marriage equality retain their seats, ensuring that we can continue to make progress on important pro-LGBTQ initiatives in the General Assembly," Johnson said.
Bashor is a patent attorney and partner at Quarles & Brady. She has served on the Equality Illinois PAC Board since 2011, including a period as chair from 2014 to 2016. In her tenure as PAC Board chair, the board's endorsed candidates won over 90 percent of the time. "It is sometimes easy to forget the struggle that we have faced, and many in our community continue to face, but Equality Illinois plays such a critical role in being visible for the community," Bashor said.
Aviña is program manager at CALOR, which provides a variety of prevention and educational services designed primarily for people most at risk of HIV/AIDS, and also works on research initiatives advancing HIV/AIDS programs. "My fight is not over until we reach zero new infections," Aviña said.
Johnson said, "Thousands of people have benefited from the dedication of SaÃšl Aviña Jr. to the fight against HIV/AIDS, particularly in the Latinx community."
The Equality Illinois Pride Kickoff Brunch will include a keynote address by Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston and the first out mayor of a major American city, who now works to increase the number of openly LGBTQ officials throughout the country as President and CEO of Victory Fund.
The Pride celebration will continue after the brunch at Brunch Remixed. More details and tickets for the brunch and Brunch Remixed are available at equalityillinois.org/pridebrunch.