Affinity Community Services (Affinity), Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago, Brave Space Alliance, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, Life is Work and Task Force Chicago are co-hosting a virtual LGBTQ-focused Chicago mayoral candidate forum for run-off challengers Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas Wednesday, March 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Pride Action Tank Executive Director and AIDS Foundation of Chicago Policy and Advocacy Operations Senior Director Kim Hunt and Transformative Justice Law Project Admin and Court Support Coordinator and Chicago Therapy Collective Board Chair Alexis Martinez will serve as the event moderators.
"It is important to us that Chicago's next Mayor feels accountable and accessible to all their constituents," said Affinity Executive Director Latonya Maley. "Black and Brown LGBTQ communities of Chicago are important contributors to this city every day. Black LGBTQ people are an active voting group, especially Black women. Affinity is having this forum to give the candidates an opportunity to let us know that they are committed to making Chicago a healthy city for us to live in by responding to our concerns and speaking directly to our issues."
"As the LGBTQ+ community in the country gain more visibility, so have the attacks on the community by institutions, organizations, individuals and politicians," said ALMA Chicago Executive Director Manuel Hernández-Nuñez, who noted that 7.5 percent of Chicago's population identifies as LGBTQ+, while more than 70% of the population are non-white. "At this intersecting point exists those of us who are LGBTQ+ and people of color. Our concerns and issues should be addressed by any leader in our city not by only words but with a clear actionable plan. Chicago is in a position to be a leader in addressing the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, specifically Black, Brown and Latinx LGBTQ people.
"This forum is organized by six of Chicago's leading Black and Latinx LGBTQ-led and serving organizations, with support from Mony Ruiz-Velasco from Equality Illinois, in an effort to not only speak on our issues, but hold the next mayor of our great city accountable to all of their constituents. The LGBTQ+ community of color contributes to every aspect of Chicago from community organizing, to economic investments, to caretaking and beyond and we deserve a Mayor who will not only hear us, but address serve our community as well."
Brave Space Alliance Interim Executive Director Jae Rice added, "For the Brave Space Alliance community, it is imperative that the next mayor of one of the deadliest places for Black trans people in the world is not only dedicated to fostering dignity among Chicago's trans, and entire LGBTQ+ populations, but dedicated to the collective liberation of all Chicagoans. Black, Brown and Indigenous queer Chicagoans are the backbone of what contributes to the vibrant soul of Chicago, and deserve to hear if and how Chicago's next mayor plans to lead from an equitable lens that uplifts all constituents"
"The Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus decided to join forces to co-sponsor this very important forum with other Black and Brown-led organizations because we understand the significance of this moment for LGBTQ+ people of color in our city," said Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus Executive Director Dr. Keith Green. "There is just so much on the line right now that affects our everyday existencefrom access to affordable, culturally responsive healthcare, to immigration reform and transgender rights. And there is strength in numbers, so we believe that our collective voices are much stronger than the voice of any singular organization."
"It is wonderful to see LGBTQ+-focused organizations come together to present a mayoral candidate forum to address our issues," said Hunt. "There is a lot at stake for every election, and this one is no different, as we see LGBTQ+ people, especially our transgender and nonbinary siblings, under attack across the country. I encourage Chicago queer and trans community members to tune in to this forum to show the mayoral candidates that our important agenda items get addressed."
"The reason why I agreed to be a moderator is because I think it is important to have this LGBTQ-focused forum," said Martinez. "LGBTQ issues oftentimes get sidelined and this forum is a move in the right direction. We need be a part of the political process in a more tangible way, including being at the decision-making table at City Hall regarding jobs, healthcare and housing. It is no longer acceptable that politicians [just] show up at LGBTQ events, including the Pride Parade, and give speeches in support of our community. They need to actually deliver for us."
See www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-mayoral-run-off-forum-on-lgbtq-issues-tickets-578184765197 to RSVP for this event. Only registered viewers will be able to view this forum as it happens. The recording will made available on the sponsoring organizations website shortly after the broadcast.