CHICAGO - With the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans under attack by the Trump Administration and the urgent need to continue our pro-equality progress in the City of Chicago, LGBTQ Chicagoans need to know where the candidates for mayor stand on the many issues of interest and importance to our lives.
LGBTQ community organizations Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action, the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, the Equality Illinois Institute, Pride Action Tank, and the Windy City Times are hosting the LGBTQ Forum with the Mayoral Candidates at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood. A broader organizational host committee is in formation.
"Black women, especially Black LGBTQ+ women, are the backbone of our communities in Chicago," said Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director of Affinity Community Services. "Any mayoral candidate will need to be able to effectively represent the needs of Black LGBTQ+ individuals and our families. This forum will provide an excellent opportunity for the candidates for mayor to address the issues that matter to us most."
"This mayoral election will define the next chapter of Chicago and what it means for all of its residents. As the number of Latinos continues to increase, and our LGBTQ Latinx family becomes a more integral component of our community, we need a Mayor that is committed to highlighting our intersectional identities and advancing the unique needs of LGBTQ people of color," said Luis Roman, board member of the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action ( ALMA ). "This is more important than ever, as the Trump Administration continues to roll back all the progress we've fought hard for. Chicago has led the way before for social justice for LGBTQ folks, immigrants, and the Latino community, and we look forward to learning about the vision of each mayoral candidate."
"LGBTQ people are part of the beautiful tapestry that is the City of Chicago. Working together, we have made progress cultivating Chicago as a welcoming and affirming city. However, there are significant challenges that LGBTQ Chicagoans experience and that must be addressed by the next mayor," said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. "That's why LGBTQ Chicagoans need to know where the mayoral candidates are on the issues affecting our lives and families. And the candidates must recognize the electoral power of LGBTQ communities of Chicago."
"LGBTQ+ people have a stake in this city. It is critical that the candidates for mayor not just hear our concerns but come with their best thinking and an understanding that we will hold them accountable to their words and actions," said Kim L. Hunt, Executive Director of Pride Action Tank.
The forum is organized by these organizations for the purposes of educating LGBTQ Chicagoans about the positions and platforms of the candidates. The event will not include any endorsements or political activity. Questions will be crafted by both the host organizations and through engagement with Chicago's LGBTQ community.
While all announced mayoral candidates have been invited, participation at the forum is contingent on candidate's filing their nominating petitions by the close of business on November 26, 2018 and not being removed from the ballot because of the petition objection process. If more than eight candidates submit their nominating petitions and qualify for the February 2019 election, the organizers of the forum reserve the right to set a cut-off, based on publicly available polling data, of the number of candidates who can participate.
The host organizations will provide more information, including instructions for how LGBTQ Chicagoans can submit potential questions, in the coming months.