CHICAGO—The statewide civic power of LGBTQ Illinoisans will be featured at the state's first Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor, which will include statewide viewing sites and questions submitted by the public.
Organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action ( ALMA ), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank, the forum will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6-8 p.m. before an audience at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago's South Loop.
The Democratic candidates who have confirmed their participation are State Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman J.B. Pritzker.
In addition to public attendance at the forum in Chicago, Illinoisans will be able to watch a video livestream at locations in Carbondale, Metro East, Normal, Peoria, Quad Cities, and Springfield hosted by local LGBTQ organizations.
The public is also being invited to submit questions that will be put to the candidates.
"We want to demonstrate to the candidates and to the state as a whole that the interests and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans emanate from every corner of Illinois," said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's LGBTQ civil rights organization. "And we all want to hear from these candidates how they would tackle these issues and what kind of priority they would give them if elected governor."
Kim Hunt, executive director of Pride Action Tank, said, "It is important that whoever becomes the next governor understands that LGBTQ people across the state are paying close attention to the candidates' views and policy proposals on issues that impact our communities."
The public can participate in the LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor in these three ways:
1. Submit a question by going to http://tinyurl.com/LGBTQ-Forum-Question
2. Attend the forum in Chicago by registering at http://tinyurl.com/LGBTQForum
3. Sign up to attend a livestream event in these locations:
BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL: tinyurl.com/LGBTQCandidateForumBloNo .
CARBONDALE: tinyurl.com/LGBTQCandidateForumCarbondale .
METRO EAST: tinyurl.com/LGBTQCandidateForumMetroEast .
PEORIA: tinyurl.com/LGBTQCandidateForumPeoria .
QUAD CITIES: tinyurl.com/LGBTQCandidateForumQuadCities1 .
SPRINGFIELD: tinyurl.com/LGBTQCandidateForumSpringfield .
In addition to the the four organizing organizations, co-hosting organizations include the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, CALOR, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, Howard Brown Health, HRC Chicago, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Peoria Proud, Phoenix Center of Springfield, Prairie Pride Coalition of Bloomington-Normal, Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center of Carbondale, South Side Help Center, WPT of Metro East and A.L.P.H.A.S. of the Quad Cities.
"In this polarized political climate, the rights of marginalized individuals have been consistently under attack at the federal level, and this has heightened the need for the states to operate as a safety net to make sure that equal access remains a reality for all people. It's not enough that our state officials understand the rights of communities within a silo, but rather, we must work with them to ensure they understand how overlapping identities shape the lived realities of individuals in our communities and how that impacts our policy needs," said Imani Rupert-Gordon, executive director of Affinity.
"As an LGBTQ organization that specifically focuses on Black LGBTQ women, LGBTQ communities of color and gender expansive individuals, we want to ensure that the next governor shares that vision and is committed to representing the full LGBTQ community and all of our needs," she said.
The forum's purpose is to educate candidates on LGBTQ issues and connect candidates to pro-LGBTQ voters. All known candidates have been invited. The forum will not result in an endorsement, scoring, or rating of the candidates by any of the host organizations.