Gay rights activists arrested at Sen. Durbin's office

Thu. May 20, 2010 12:00 AM by News Staff

Sit-in organized due to lack of Senator Durbin's response on ENDA

Chicago, IL - A group of thirteen activists from Chicago were arrested Thursday afternoon following a sit-in at the Chicago district office of Illinois Senator Richard Durbin.

The protesters, part of the Chicago Harvey Milk Week of Action Coalition, entered the Senator's downtown office at Noon demanding Sen. Durbin sign a pledge affirming his commitment to a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The pledge called for Sen. Durbin's "forceful advocacy of the bill before the media and Senate." The Senator was not in the office at the time.

When the activists refused to leave until the pledge was signed, Sen. Durbin's staff called the Federal authorities to have them removed from the office.

"I am here because we can no longer sit around and wait for our rights to be handed to us by politicians, we must demand our rights from them," said Lindsey Dietzler of LGBT Change and one of those arrested. "We have to be here to fight for those who are forced to remain invisible and deny who they are just to make a living. I want Senator Durbin to know that until there is full federal equality for every queer citizen, no one in this country is free."

According to a LGBT Change, the activists arrested were: Dietzler, Andrea Crain, Kevin Connaghan, Roger Fraser, Judy Heithmar, Brent Holman-Gomez, Nik Maciejewski, Rachael McIntosh, Corrine Mina, Michael Oboza, Samantha Pajor, Sherry Wolf and Danelle Wylder.

Sen. Durbin has expressed support for EDNA.

The Chicago Harvey Milk Week of Action Coalition is comprised of LGBT Change, Join the Impact Chicago and the Gay Liberation Network. The group has planned a rally in the park at Congress and Michigan Avenue for this Saturday, June 22nd at 1 p.m.