Speaking at the Victory Fund's Oct. 1 champagne brunch for Chicago supporters at Ignite Studios, 401 N. Armour St., executive director Aisha Moodie-Mills acknowledged numerous stressors befalling LGBT Americans right now, from destructive weather to unfriendly politicians, but said that many in the LGBT community "are the ones who are leading the resistance."
LGBT politicians, Moodie-Mills added, are "putting into place policies that insulate us from the crazy things that [President Donald Trump] is trying to do."
Victory Fund is dedicated to identifying and training out LGBT political candidates at the local, state and national levels.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Debra Shore presented her namesake award to Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot.
Shore praised Lightfoot's work on behalf of people of color and the LGBT community, noting that Lightfoot "leads with values and tells it like it is" and is "a shining example of why LGBT representation is important."
Lightfoot discussed the main principle that guides her work: "If people don't feel safeif they don't feel like they're safe in their homes, if they don't feel like they're safe in the way they can walk down the street and claim the geography under their feetnothing else matters."
Wisconsin state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa spoke about the liberating effect of the being an openly bisexual legislator. "I served my whole first term in the closet, and I wouldn't wish that pain on my worst enemy," she said.
That sentiment was echoed by Ohio state Rep. ( and Minority Whip ) Nicky Antonio, who became involved in politics when the state government rallied against marriage equality in the early 2000s. She started at the city level and moved on to the statehouse; Antonio said she plans a senate run in 2018.
"I'm proud of the fact that under my watch, there haven't been any anti-LGBT bills passed in the legislature," she said.
Antonio also discussed the impact being openly lesbian had on her colleagues in the legislature; many did not know, or think they knew, an LGBT person. "Sometimes the most courageous act someone can do is show up and be their authentic self," she added.
Communications strategist Justin DeJong introduced the presentations and Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim spoke on the history of LGBT politics and elected officials in Chicago.