Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=178152
Story Retrieval Date: 6/20/2013 1:10:15 AM CST
(27 organizations listed as of latest press release)
Affinity Community Services
AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Association of Latino Men for Action (ALMA)
Bisexual Queer Alliance Chicago
Center on Halsted
Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus
Howard Brown Health Center
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Chicago
I2I: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago
Illinois Gender Advocates
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
Join the Impact Chicago
Lesbian & Gay Bar Association of Chicago
LGBT Immigration Project of Heartland Alliance
Orgullo En Accion
POW WOW, Inc.
Public Pride Alliance
The Civil Rights Agenda
The Literary Exchange
Video Action League
Windy City Black LGBT Pride
Rahm Emanuel, Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel del Valle all agree LGBTQ issues will continue to be addressed in their administrations.
The candidates spoke at a forum co-sponsored by a coalition of 32 LGBTQ organizations at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in the Loop on Wednesday.
All six mayoral candidates were invited and agreed to attend. But a conflict with the Chicago Defenders forum, which had been rescheduled to Wednesday night, prevented Gery Chico, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins and William "Dock" Walls from attending. Chico showed up before the LGBTQ event, but the forum’s leaders did not think it was fair to start early. Each candidate came in to speak for 20 minutes.
The three candidates agreed that there is still work to be done on issues such as bullying, HIV prevention, hate crimes and youth homelessness.
All said the new head of the Chicago Public Schools must work with school administrators, teachers and parents to implement the state’s bullying prevention act that was passed in June.
Braun said the school system needed an LGBT liaison.
“We have to have an educator in the system [handling] the training for the school system administrators, she said, “as well as the police.”
Del Valle agreed but added that measures are needed to track the progress of new anti-bullying programs.
“You can have all the policies in the world that you want,” he said. “But if there isn’t documentation, a process of monitoring to see whether or not the policies are being implemented, then you won’t get the kinds of results that you need.”
Another area where the candidates agreed: HIV prevention.
Emanuel said he would strengthen the city’s department of public health. The city needs to do a better job reaching all of its communities, he said, not just on the North Side.
Braun and del Valle agreed.
“African-Americans and Latinos are still not being reached,” del Valle said. “Over the years, the activism has been there for the gay and lesbian community. But African-American and Latinos are still not being reached the way they need to be reached with the services that need to be provided. I look forward to the day when we have real equality.”
Braun added the city should encourage a partnership between private business and public offices to reach more people.
The candidates also said they support training to improve the Chicago Police Department’s handling of hate crimes, especially those involving the transgender community.
“Every person is entitled to human rights in the city of Chicago,” Braun said.
“As mayor, I would demand that our police department accord those rights and accord respect to every person without regard to sexuality, status, race, ethnicity or religion.”
She noted her record as U.S. senator, voting against the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell legislation.
Emanuel touted his work with President Barack Obama in passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. That act expanded the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated against one’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Del Valle pointed to his record as state senator, specifically his work with the Illinois Human Rights Act passed in 2005.
Wednesday’s forum was the first LGBTQ event of its kind in the city, said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.
“This is absolutely the first time 32 LGBT organizations have come together for anything of this magnitude,” Cherkasov said. “That speaks volumes of where we are as a community. The most important thing for us in putting this together was to have the candidates make their commitments directly to the LGBT community.”
“The only reason this went on is because we had the power of 30 organizations that came together and said we are going to have this and if you’re not there, we are going to notice,” said Anthony Martinez of LGBT Change.
Julio Rodriguez of the Association of Latino Men for Action wants to hold the new mayor accountable for campaign promises to the LGBTQ community.
“I think a year from now,” he said, “they need to be here again, and we need to be broadcasting their response to a new set of questions”
Another mayoral forum is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Kennedy-King College on the South Side. WFLD (Ch. 32), which is broadcasting the event, said “the leading mayoral candidates” have been invited.