Today I’m speaking on the Faith and Equality Issues Panel at the Equality Institute, hosted by Equality Illinois in partnership with several other justice-oriented organizations in the state. The mission of Equality Illinois is to “build a better Illinois by advancing equal treatment and social justice through education, advocacy and protection of the rights of the LGBT community.” They do this through focused work to lobby local, state, and federal lawmakers, educate communities about justice issues, and elect more candidates committed to inclusiveness, fairness, and respect for all citizens. The organization was one of the key players in efforts to secure marriage equality in the state prior to the federal marriage protections extended to all this past summer. Director of Public Policy Mike Ziri is an alumni of Illinois College, where I teach, and was recently quoted in an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune praising Metra’s decision to eliminate gender-designation from monthly train passes: “We are glad Metra is doing the right thing here. Of course, the Illinois Human Rights Act, which includes provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation and sex, has been in place for 10 years now.” These are just two examples of the advocacy work that the organization has been involved in, and there are many more ranging from adoption to immigration to housing to safe schools to trans* issues. I look forward to being part of the organization’s annual event today, and encourage you to head over to their website to check out more of their work and get involved. Author note: Honorable Mention is a recurring feature on this blog, a quick mention-or shout-out to someone or something worthy of notice.
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