Equality Illinois kicked off its weekend-long Fahrenheit Chicago celebration the evening of Aug. 23 by honoring Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Illinois Deputy Gov. Sol Flores, among others, in a presentation at Connect Gallery in Hyde Park.
Fahrenheit Chicago, which took place Aug. 23-25 in various South Side locations,
was geared towards both celebrating and raising awareness for Black LGBT Chicagoans. Among longterm organizational goals are connecting Black LGBT folks with politicians and other community stakeholders, identifying and closing health disparities, and identifying community assets that can be deployed on behalf of the community, explained Equality Illinois Board Member Butch Trusty.
"It's all about 2020 and making sure we have a healthy community," said co-organizer Anthony Galloway, who is Equality Illinois's director of Civic Engagement. "Over the next year, we will be embarking on a challenge to identify 10,000 pro-LGBTQ voters for the next election. We think it's important that people take their pro-LGBTQ values into the voting booth."
When accepting her award, Flores, who also serves as deputy director of Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, said, "I'm clear that my success and my opportunities have also been from the folks who have come before me. … Today, at the Pritzker administration, my commitment and promise to you as deputy governor is to always have your voice at the table, [and] to make sure that there's true equity and inclusion, and an authentic voice."
In her acceptance speech, Foxx said, "I am … thankful for the relationships that I have gained doing this work, in learning about communities that were different from my ownand being unapologetic about centering those stories and those people at the heart of what we do. For all that is said about our office, we do know [who] we servewe serve every intersection. What we cannot do is allow for the marginalized to be left in the shadows and pretend that we care for all."
Additional honorees at the Aug. 23 presentation included activists Pat McComb and Vera Washington; Tatyana Moaton of Howard Brown Health; activist and event planner Joel Jackson; activists and event planners Rae Chardonnay and Nick Alder of Party Noir; and activist Charles Nelson. Commissioner Mona Noriega of the city's Commission on Human Relations also read a proclamation from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.