Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-04-24
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Rick Garcia honored at Vida/SIDA event
by Joseph Erbentraut, Windy City Times
2011-03-30

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In an event that attracted numerous elected officials and community leaders to Circuit Nightclub's Rehab Lounge, the Humboldt Park-based HIV/AIDS service organization Vida/SIDA honored longtime gay activist Rick Garcia March 25.

Garcia, one of four co-founders of Equality Illinois, was abruptly fired from his long-held position as that group's principal lobbyist late last year. The decision, fast on the heels of the passage of the state's civil-union bill, was a controversial one in the eyes of many community activists, including the leadership of Vida/SIDA.

"Given his commitment to civil unions statewide and all the work he's done, we needed to make sure he was recognized," Vida/SIDA Director Juan Calderon told Windy City Times.

That work, Calderon noted, continues to this day, notably with Garcia's ongoing support of an ambitious LGBT youth-targeted transitional housing shelter, called "El Rescate" (or "The Rescue"), that Vida/SIDA has spearheaded. In addition to honoring Garcia, the event at Circuit served as a fundraiser to support El Rescate's programming efforts.

Roberto Sanabria, a board member of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, with which Vida/SIDA is affiliated, said opening the shelter "is not going to be very easy" but noted that it is of critical importance to many LGBTQ youth in the city who find themselves facing homelessness. According to a 2007 study initiated by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, as many as 40 percent of homeless youth are estimated to self-identify as LGBT.

When some LGBTQ youth come out to their families, Sanabria noted, they face both rejection from their families and an atmosphere of discrimination, harassment or even abuse in mainstream homeless shelters. Projects like El Rescate, which will initially offer 15 beds, help to fill the current void of culturally competent options for many queer youth.

"What happens in New York and what's going to happen in Los Angeles and here is that we say if [these youths'] families have rejected them, then we are their families," Sanabria said. "We're telling these young people that they're not alone. That they have something: They have a warm place to lay their head at night, the most basic human right we can imagine."

In honor of Garcia's support, Sanabria announced they would name one of the shelter's three floors after Garcia.

"[Rick] is not the type of person who puts his hat in hand and asks, 'Would you please tolerate me?' [He] says, 'You will accept me and if not, then get out of my way—get out of my community's way,'" Sanabria noted. "We believe that the young people at our homeless shelter should understand, see and be moved by the legacy of Rick Garcia. They should be informed by his passion, his courage and all of his sacrifice."

Garcia, after being handed an award modeled after the Paseo Boricua-bookending steel Puerto Rican flags that adorn Division Street, addressed his "intertwining" history with Vida/SIDA. He has often served as a judge in the organization's annual transgender beauty pageant and also collaborated with the group in speaking with the state's Latino Legislative Caucus last year.

"It is always great to be recognized or honored. Who doesn't like that? But it is especially touching and it is especially meaningful when that honor comes from people that you honor and you respect and you honor," he said.

Garcia further spoke to the importance of El Rescate providing much-needed access to shelter, stability and positive role models for the city's homeless LGBTQ youth.

"What I want more than anything right now is to have that center, El Rescate, there that will be open to kids who need us," Garcia continued. "Kids who need us. Kids who have been thrown away by their families, who aren't understood by their families. Kids who need us so that they can grow, so that they can be loved and they can love and they can participate in this great city and have great lives."

According to Calderon, El Rescate is on track to become the Midwest's first LGBTQ-specific homeless shelter. While similar projects, including a shelter already completed in New York City and a forthcoming home in Los Angeles, have received the generous support of celebrities and federal funding, Vida/SIDA's efforts to secure funding for El Rescate have faced significant obstacles.

However, the project is already in the zoning stages and may open its doors yet this year. Calderon said the organization has received a $300,000 capital commitment from several supportive state representatives—including Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios, Cynthia Soto and Iris Martinez—and has received a great deal of help from individuals donating their assistance with the shelter's architectural plans and zoning fees.

Berrios was on hand at the event, joined by state Rep. Deb Mell and Berrios' father, Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios. Also in attendance were Illinois Department of Human Rights Director Rocco Claps; Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame honorees Lori Cannon and Charlotte Newfeld; former U.S. Senate candidate and The Civil Rights Agenda co-founder Jacob Meister; and former 46th Ward aldermanic candidate Don Nowotny.

Speaking before the crowd at Circuit, Toni Berrios applauded Garcia's history of advocacy.

"When Rick speaks, you can tell it's from the heart," Berrios said. "Rick has done just such an amazing job for the LGBT community. You just gravitate to him when you first meet him. You want to learn as much as you can from him and want to help out as much as you can because you can feel the passion he has for these issues."

Meister, too, had kind words for Garcia, whom he described as, "in many respects, the public face of our community in Springfield."

"Even though he is not with Equality any more, he is still out there doing the same things he's always been doing," Meister said. "Everyone knows Rick, everyone has a tremendous amount of respect for him and the work he's done through the years and they should. He has his hand on the pulse of the legislative and administrative changes that are going on in Springfield and he's going to continue to be on the forefront."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Cassidy named 49th Ward committeeperson 2019-04-24
Pete Buttigieg throws his hat in the ring 2019-04-24
WORLD Taiwan marriages, Indian prince, gay Mexican candidate 2019-04-23
Supreme Court to hear LGBT discrimination cases 2019-04-22
Rodriguez Sanchez talks about victory over Mell 2019-04-18
Foxx reveals thoughts in Smollett case emails 2019-04-17
Trans singer songwriter Shea Diamond video supports HRC "Americans for the Equality Act" campaign 2019-04-16
WORLD Mexican marriage bill, Luxembourg PM, China watching Buttigieg 2019-04-16
Supreme Court denies appeal for gay man on death row 2019-04-16
Lamont Robinson talk April 20 2019-04-15
Buttigieg First Openly LGBTQ Democratic Presidential Candidate in U.S. History 2019-04-14
Non-binary license option passes House 2019-04-14
Morrison and Lightfoot appear at Chamber of Commerce event 2019-04-12
Trans military ban now in effect 2019-04-12
SAGE praises bipartisan LGBT aging bill introduced in Congress 2019-04-12
Lightfoot's transition team co-leaders named 2019-04-11
Cayman Islands court blocks marriage equality 2019-04-11
Military policy researchers call trans ban the return of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" 2019-04-10
Political experts weigh in on Lori Lightfoot's road ahead 2019-04-10
LGBTs discuss Lightfoot victory, future 2019-04-10
ELECTIONS 2019 LGBT aldermanic races mostly tight 2019-04-10
HRC Calls for Senate To Join House in Reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act 2019-04-04
Rhodes-Conway to become Madison's first queer mayor 2019-04-03
Report details lives of LGBTs in rural areas 2019-04-03
Quigley and Carson spar over LGBT youth homelessness 2019-04-03
ELECTIONS 2019 RUNOFFS. LGBT candidates in tight aldermanic races (UPDATE) 2019-04-02
Lightfoot wins in runoff landslide, talks next steps 2019-04-02
Lesbian mayoral candidates win big, 2019 to be Year of the Lesbian Mayor 2019-04-02
Lightfoot to be Chicago's first openly LGBTQ, Black female mayor, groups comment 2019-04-02
National Out to Win Day Urges LGBTQ People to Run for Office 2019-04-02
Rhodes-Conway aims to be Madison's first queer mayor 2019-04-02
Cappleman in runoff race to hold 46th Ward seat 2019-04-02
Lopez fights to retain 15th Ward council seat 2019-04-01
Jackson and other activists denounce anti-Foxx rally 2019-04-01
LGBTQ Civil Rights Leaders Call for Passage of Bipartisan Equality Act 2019-04-01
Vallas joins MBC board 2019-04-01
Pritzker officiates Huberman wedding 2019-03-31
State rep proposes JUSSIE Act 2019-03-31
U.S. House votes to condemn military transgender ban 2019-03-28
Federal anti-conversion therapy bill introduced in House 2019-03-28
 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.