Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Eugene Sawyer Dies
by Amy Wooten
2008-02-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, who helped push through legislation key to the local gay and lesbian community in the late '80s, died Jan. 19 at Hinsdale Hospital after a long battle with illness. He was 73.

Sawyer was originally a reluctant leader. He was Chicago's second African-American mayor, selected by a divided City Council as Harold Washington's successor in 1987. Washington, who died while in office, had presided over a tumultuous period in Chicago's political history, and Sawyer was seen as a compromise candidate. Although he was mayor for only two years, he was able to play an important role in advancing the rights of the local LGBT community.

While Sawyer was in office, the City Council passed the Human Rights Ordinance in December 1988—something Harold Washington was unable to accomplish. The passing of that law, which protects gay, lesbian and bisexual people from discrimination in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations, was critical to the local movement. Gender identity was added to the ordinance several years later.

Former Ald. William Beavers, a friend of Sawyer who is now on the Cook County Board, talked about what the former mayor did for the gay community. 'Harold always wanted to get a gay rights ordinance passed, but he couldn't get it passed,' Beavers told The Chicago Tribune. 'Gene got it passed.'

'He had been an old-school … alderman, tied only to his constituency, and originally voted no on the human-rights ordinance,' recalled local activist and writer Achy Obejas. 'But during his months in office, he was transformed by the challenge the gay and lesbian community put forth … and he became our champion, risking everything by pushing through the ordinance. In the end, he really believed in the purpose and morality of the law. I counted him as a friend, to us, as well as personally, and I will miss him very much.'

Rick Garcia, one of the key activists lobbying for the gay-rights bill, stated to Windy City Times, 'We mourn the passing of Mayor Eugene Sawyer. He not only brought the city together during a raucous time, it was under his influence and leadership that the gay-rights ordinance was passed in City Council in 1988. I deeply appreciate his commitment to our community and [ am ] grateful for his leadership on gay issues.'

Prior to being elected mayor, Sawyer was alderman of the South Side's 6th Ward from 1971 to 1988. He ran for a full term as mayor in 1989, but lost to current Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Sawyer had three children—sons Roderick and Shedrick and daughter Sheryl ( McGill ) , who began heading the city's Department of Human Services in 2006.

Sawyer was buried Jan. 26 in Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 E. 67th.


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.



Copyright © 2019 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
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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      Spotlight  Video     
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.