On June 30 ( during Windy City Black Pride Week ), about 50 local residents, family and friends of the LGBTQ community and honorees celebrated the 11th annual Esteem Awards ceremony at Boystown nightspot Sidetrack.
PrideIndexa community guide for Black LGBT individualsorganized the ceremony, which honored a total of seven organizations and 12 individuals.
This year's recipients included Lamont Robinson, who is currently running for the 5th Congressional District of Illinois; and Maria Hadden, a lesbian who is a 2019 Chicago aldermanic candidate and executive director of Our City Our Voice.
Many other individualsincluding Center on Halsted Director of Transgender Relations and Community Engagement Vanessa Sheridan, and journalist/consultant Derrick Cliftonwere all recognized for their commitment to bring equality and change amongst the LBTQ community. Each honoree was given time to share with audience about what needs to be done as a community moving forward.
"We need you, and you need us," Hadden said shortly before closing.
National awards were given to Dr. Eric Prichard, author and English professor at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, activist Dr. Wilhemenia Perry and many more. The audience and honorees shared jokes and laughter with one another, all praising the struggles and battles each individual has overcome.
The event included raffles and gift baskets throughout the ceremony. Many of the honorees spoke to the folks who were in the audience after the ceremony and exchanged information for future actions.