Valerie Jarrett speaks at Equality Illinois gala

Sat. February 11, 2012 10:35 PM by News Staff

valerie jarrett addresses eqil's justice for all gala

photo credit // jay shaff
Chicago, IL - President Obama's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett was back home in Chicago Saturday for the Equality Illinois' (EQIL) annual Justice for All gala.

"There's no place like home," Jarrett said as she opened her address at the Chicago Hilton.

A Chicago lawyer, businesswoman and one of President Obama's longest serving advisors, Jarrett started in Chicago politics in 1987 working for Mayor Harold Washington.

"People who love this country can change it," Jarrett told an influential audience that included notable political, corporate and community leaders gathered in the Grand and International Ballrooms.

After recounting the changes achieved by the Obama administration, including the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and enactment of the Hate Crimes Act, Jarrett said, "We love this country and we have changed it."

Jarrett promised the President would continue to fight opposition to equality.

"To all the young people in the audience, I am here to say to you that President Obama believes in you," she said. "It not only gets better, he will help make it better."

The gala celebrated the implementation of the Illinois civil union law, which took effect last June, this week's U.S. appellate court ruling upholding marriage equality in California and the approval of full marriage rights by the Washington state legislature.

"This is just the beginning of long road toward marriage equality, but with recent victories in Washington and California, we have great wind on our backs," Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said in a released statement.

More than 1,000 guests and dignitaries attended the gala hosted by the state's largest civil rights organization.

Other attendees included Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Senate President John Cullerton, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a number of other political and community leaders.

The theme of this year's gala was "Celebrating Every Family."

Related: Photos from Justice for All gala (Gallery 1)
Related: Photos from Justice for All gala (Gallery 2)


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