Illinois state Treasurer Mike Frerichs and his office paid tribute to LGBT History Month on Oct. 18 by honoring a number of longtime community activists.
In a ceremony held in the main concourse of the James R. Thompson Center downtown, Frerichs said that, "by bringing people of different backgrounds together, we make better decisionsthat's what this is all about"
Kim Hunt, executive director of the Pride Action Tank advocacy, delivered the keynote address, paying special attention to issues confronting both LGBT youth and older adults.
She said both groups "are the most vulnerable under the rainbow and are dependent on the most broken systems in our society."
Further praising the abundance of resources and protections in the city and state, Hunt added, "We have a lot going on, but we are still vulnerable."
Award recipients included: Outstanding Service in BusinessAmy Lawless, co-owner, The Dearborn; Outstanding Commitment in Community ServiceAffinity Community Services; Outstanding Commitment in EducationRamona Faith Oswald, a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign human development and family studies professor; Outstanding Service in Leadershipactivist and Equality Illinois co-founder Art Johnston; Outstanding Service in Workforce and LaborJohn Kohlhepp, SEIU Local 73 political director; and Outstanding Commitment as an Elected OfficialChicago Ald. Tom Tunney ( 44th Ward ).
Jorge Enrique de Santiago of Telemundo emceed; additional introductions were delivered by Julio Rodriguez of Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action ( ALMA ). Members of American Veterans for Equal Rights presented their colors.
Frerich's office has held similar events for members of the Black and Brown, Latinx and women's communities as well. In the Oct. 18 event, he commented on the unorthodox venue, essentially in the middle of the Thompson Center's food court: "We want people to see that we are all part of this community."
"The very existence of LGBTQ History Month is an affront to our opponents," said Johnston when he accepted his award.
Kim Hunt's full remarks at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Working-for-a-world-where-we-all-can-live-/64521.html .