A local LGBT activist was arrested and charged with simple battery June 25 following an altercation at his South Side office. Marc Loveless, the executive director of the Coalition for Justice and Respect ( CJR ) , is alleged to have shoved and grabbed the president of the organization's board of directors, John Hickman, after Loveless was served with a termination letter. CJR is an LGBT- rights and HIV-advocacy group.
The arrest comes as Loveless and the organization he founded three years ago have become embroiled in controversy surrounding a host of issues, including the use of government and private grants, unpaid bills, opaque fundraising methods and charges of embezzlement. Sources close to Loveless with knowledge of the issues have forwarded documents supporting their claims to local authorities. Loveless denies all wrongdoing.
On the afternoon of June 25, Hickman stated he served Loveless with a document removing him as executive director of CJR. The document was signed by Hickman and fellow CJR board member Billy Davis. Shortly thereafter, Hickman alleged, Loveless proceeded to grab and push him in order to remove him from the organization's office. At the time, Hickman said, more than 30 people who were in the office witnessed the altercation.
Loveless told Windy City Times no such event occurred. "The only mistake I made was when I confronted John and came up close behind him," he said. "John came into the office and was yelling and screaming and I told him that he had to leave. After he refused to go, I said, 'Alright, John, you have to go.' That's when he made a stance like he was going to hit me. So, I came up close behind him and escorted him out of the office."
Witnesses who asked not to be named, however, claim that Loveless attacked Hickman following his receipt of the termination letter. "Yes, I saw it happen," said one witness. But Loveless denied ever being served a termination letter and moreover asserted that Hickman and Davis lack the authority to remove him as executive director because both have been removed from CJR's board of directors.
Loveless added that he would resolve the battery matter in court.
Parade features Chely Wright, Stanley Cup
by Kristin Kowalski
The 41st Annual Pride Parade certainly took on a more athletic tone this year as the Chicago Cubs ( featuring Hall of Famer Ernie Banks ) had a float in the event for the first time everand as now-former Chicago Blackhawk Brent Sopel brought along the Stanley Cup to show the masses. Photos by Kat Fitzgerald
( MysticImagesPhotography.com )
The skies cleared up just in time for Chicago's 41st Annual Pride Parade on June 27. Country music star Chely Wright was the parade's grand marshal. She recently became the first prominent country music star to come out publically. There were 250 registered floats in the parade and 450,000-500,000 estimated spectators, according to a press release from PRIDEChicago and the parade website ( www.chicagopridecalendar.org ) .
The theme this year was "One Heart, One World, One Pride," which came out in the many diverse floats representing different nationalities, professions, political campaigns and LGBT organizations. Marriage equality and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were issues that were once again represented in the parade.
An exciting highlight in this year's parade was the Stanley Cup accompanied by Brent Sopel. The Chicago Gay Hockey Association invited the Chicago Blackhawks and Sopel, now a former Blackhawk, accepted. Another pro sports team, the Chicago Cubs, had a float in the parade, and it featured Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. One of the primary owners of the Cubs is Laura Ricketts, who is openly gay.
PRIDEChicago announced four awards and two honorable mentions in a press release. For Best All Around Business Float, Sidetrack won with its "Coloring Our World with Pride" entry. Best Organization went to Columbia College, with its salute to the TV series GLEE. Special Judges awards were given out to Threadless.com for its self-made cat-themed float and to Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce for its elaborate storefront float. Honorable mentions were given to two very colorful entries: Roscoe's and Filipino Pride Chicago.
Because of the number of people in attendance, some people were directed to other locations on the parade route because the starting point of Halsted and Belmont was too crowded. Spectators were behind barricades on the parade route, but further south on Halsted, where floats were lined up and just starting to move, there were no barricades. The Chicago Police Department told Windy City Times that there were 15 arrests, all misdemeanors.