Citywide LGBT coalition welcomes Rahm Emanuel and new city leadership

Sun. May 15, 2011 4:33 PM

rahm emanuel speaks at center on halsted

photo credit // anthony meade
Chicago, IL - The Citywide Coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Organizations congratulates Rahm Emanuel on his inauguration as the Mayor of the City of Chicago. The Coalition also congratulates the new and re-elected aldermen of Chicago's 50 Wards, including openly gay Aldermen James Cappleman (Ward 46) and Tom Tunney (Ward 44).

In February of this year, over 30 LGBT organizations came together to host the city's first Mayoral Candidate Forum on LGBT Issues. This coalition of organizations has remained intact to ensure that the needs of Chicago's diverse LGBT communities are heard and addressed.

"We are very pleased to welcome Rahm Emanuel as he becomes this great city's next Mayor," said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. "With that said, to ensure this city stays great we have a lot of work to do. The goal of this coalition is to ensure that the needs of the LGBT community are taken into account on larger issues such as education, and public safety. We want to ensure that the Mayor holds true to the promises he made to the LGBT community, and that the community engages with this new administration around accountability."

During the forum last February, mayoral candidates were asked to address five issue areas that were developed through an extensive community-wide input process. Education, HIV/AIDS, youth homelessness, transgender rights, and public safety were identified as the most pressing issues to the LGBT community. The coalition is currently drafting a document that will be presented to the Mayor that outlines the five issue areas and the most pressing items that need to be addressed over the next two years.

"The new administration needs to see that issues like affordable housing, are important issues to the LGBT community and we will seek to be engaged around these issues in meaningful ways," said Julio Rodriguez, board president for the Association of Latino Men for Action (ALMA).

"We fully expect Mayor Emanuel to carry out his pledge of building a safe and welcoming city, and an administration that is representative of this great city's diversity, including the LGBT community," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

The coalition, which was coordinated by leaders from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Affinity Community Services, Amigas Latinas, the Association of Latino Men for Action, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, Equality Illinois, and The Civil Rights Agenda came together after an ad hoc committee of concerned citizens worked with groups across the city to develop an LGBT issues questionnaire for mayoral candidates. After the February mayoral election, the coalition met to discuss next steps and decided to continue their work together to advance a comprehensive and diverse LGBT political presence.

"The coalition includes many small organizations that are doing great work with and on behalf of every segment of the LGBTQ community in the Chicago metropolitan region," said Kim Hunt, executive director of Affinity Community Services. "Many of our members don't have the capacity to run their programs and work to ensure that the political equity of our communities is not diminished by themselves."

The coalition includes:

Affinity Community Services
Amigas Latinas
Association of Latino Men for Action
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Bisexual Queer Alliance
Boricua Pride
Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus
Chicago Transgender Coalition
Center on Halsted
Equality Illinois
Howard Brown Health Center
Human Rights Campaign Chicago
I2I: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
Illinois Gender Advocates
Join the Impact Chicago
Lambda Legal
LGBT Change
LGBT Immigration Project of Heartland Alliance
Lesbian & Gay Bar Association of Chicago
Orgullo En Accion
Public Pride Alliance
The Civil Rights Agenda
The Literary Exchange
Video Action League
Windy City Black LGBT Pride

From Press Release

Emanuel will be formally sworn in on Monday, May 16, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

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