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Families of Chicago celebrates LGBTQ youths of color
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

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"Dance fusion" was the theme of Families of Chicago's ( FOC ) second annual holiday banquet celebrating Chicago's young Black and Brown LGBTQ communities Dec. 10 at University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall.

Among the banquet committee members were family leaders, The Village ( University of Chicago ) staff and University of Chicago staff and students.

FOC is affiliated with the University of Chicago Medicine and consists of over 10 Houses and Families from across the city's south and west side neighborhoods. These families, like the well-known house and ball communities, include individuals from across the queer spectrum.

The family scene is a kinship and cultural formation entity that fosters resilience and persistence for queer youth and young adults who may have encountered difficulty at home, school and/or finding employment. All families consist of an Overall Mother or an Overall Father who is tasked with providing family members with life skills, housing and employment assistance as well as emotional support to their entire families.

"FOC's mission is to provide support, guidance and development for members of FOC as they navigate and persevere through the obstacles of life that come along with being a member of the young LGBTQ community of Chicago," said event organizer and University of Chicago Hospital Department of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Education and Training Manager Joel Jackson.

FOC Kash Family Founder and community leader Jo Jo Kash recognized members of each family during the legends, statements and stars showcase ahead of brief remarks by The Village Youth Program Coordinator Denim Carter, University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division Director of Diversity Initiatives Tobias Spears and Jackson, who led a moment of silence.

Following the dinner, FOC bestowed the organization's first community leadership awards to Kardashian Family Founder Halle B. Kardashian, Moncler Family Founder Meghan Moncler and Rajah Family Founder Kentrell Rajah for their unique and substantial contributions to the family scene. This included, but was not limited to, their visibility within the scene itself and community work outside the scene. These awards will be presented at forthcoming annual banquets.

The Miata Family won FOC's first annual Best Dressed Family award. Performers included Bionca Black from the Carter Family and Sha Sha Golden from the Golden Family.

DJ Matty spun the music; Porkchop in Hyde Park provided the food for the evening's festivities.

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