The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance ( NQAPIA ) hosted the Chicago Community Catalyst Awards to honor individuals and organizations who have worked to make strides in representing the LGBT community on Aug. 5 at Cai Restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown.
NQAPIAa federation of LGBTQ Asian-American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander organizationsseeks to promote visibility, educate the community, and challenge homophobia, transphobia and racism.
The eventwhich included cocktails, a 12-course meal, performances and musicalso served as an opportunity to raise money for the organization's work, which helps build a world where LGBT API individuals are accepted into their homes, families, jobs and religions.
The event's honorees were Chicago Desi Youth Rising ( CDYR ), Tanvi Kaushal Sheth, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
Each year, Chicago Desi Youth Rising puts together the very first summer leadership retreat in the Midwest for youth ages 15 to 21 who trace their heritage to South Asia and seek to effect change. The group strongly encourages all lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, two-spirit, intersex, and asexual+ youth to apply and be on their way to further their social justice work.
Tanvi Kaushal Sheth is a project attorney and board member of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois, and advocate for civic equality for transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is an organization working toward empowering, educating, and bringing justice to Chicago's Asian American communities.
Several guests were moved to tears after hearing the differences these honorees have made in their communities.
"Events like these are so important because unlike in pop culture, people can see LGBT API individuals, who look like them, and it is more relatable," Tia Adams, an organizer of the event, said.