Chicago, IL -
held its Pride Kickoff Brunch, an annual launch to Pride celebrations in Chicago, on June 3 at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St.
About 350 people, including many community leaders and political figures, gathered to celebrate and thank the leaders who advance LGBTQ equality.
Victory Fund CEO and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker provided the keynote address, with additional remarks by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.Related: Annise Parker talks politics, deep-dish pizza and Equality Illinois Pride Brunch
The civil rights organization recognized Nicole Bashor, who spearheads support for political candidates in Illinois who back pro-LGBTQ policies, and Saul Avina Jr., who has spent a decade working on HIV treatment and prevention programs, as 2018 Equality Illinois Community Pride Honorees.
"Every year at the Pride Brunch we highlight Illinois activists whose work has improved LGBTQ lives in the state," explained Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson.
Hilary Wirtz of Breakthru Beverages presented the organization with a check for $55,000.
"On behalf of the Wirtz Family, Breakthru Beverage and our valued supplier partners, I'd like to thank Equality Illinois for their continued partnership and their daily fight on the front lines for all LGBTQ people throughout the state," said Wirtz. "Being a family run business, our corporate and family values are shared and one of our core values is to be inclusive. We believe everyone should feel safe, respected, valued and included both professionally and personally."
Also among those in attendance were Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and his running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Juliana Stratton; Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot; Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs; Illinois state representative candidate Lamont Robinson; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Commissioner Debra Shore; Chicago Ald. James Cappleman; Berwyn Ald. Scott Lennon; Berwyn school board member Julia McAleer-Forte; Berwyn Township Trustee Joseph Johnston; Cook County Board candidate Kevin Morrison; Aurora School Board Member Alex Arroyo; aldermanic candidate Andre Vazquez; MWRD board candidate Marcelina Garcia; and Chicago Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Mona Noriega.2018 Chicago Pride Month Calendar