Susan Stanley and Robert Schultz, co-chairs of Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays, have released an Open Letter to the GLBT community, announcing the reasons behind this Saturday's Unity Conference.
"Recent events have shown us the tragic bitter fruit of the tree of hate. Although intolerance is not new, we have been surprised again by the capacity of humans to engineer great violence.
"Since Sept. 11, many have been challenged to answer the question, what can I do to increase understanding among individuals and communities? People of conscience have asked themselves, what can I do to increase the peace?
"Prophetically, more than a year ago, Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays ( CBLG ) decided the best way to launch the new century, with our first annual gathering since 1999, should be to have a more inclusive Unity conference.
"By inviting our LBGT brothers and sisters of all racial, ethnic, and faith identities to an experience that celebrates our multiple identities, and affirms our common values and experiences, CBLG will continue in our tradition of coalition and community building.
"Unity/Unidad 2001: Engage, Embrace, Togetherness is a collaborative, interactive, and inclusive bridge-building event for all the diversities of Chicago's LBGT community. Unity/Unidad 2001 will be Saturday, Oct. 13, starting 10 a.m. at the University of Illinois Chicago Campus Student Center, 828 S. Walcott.
"The gathering is an opportunity for lesbians, bisexuals, gays, and transgendered individuals to weave of the web of community. Among Americans of African descent, CBLG has learned there is great diversity among ourselves. Even as we engage one another within the most immediate of our communities, we've found that dialogue can't stop there. Embracing others beyond the boundaries we've imposed upon ourselves is important as well. The togetherness we seek is not to a unity of goose-stepping clones obtaining a superficial unity. Rather, we see unity as a conga line of individuals and communities' celebrating the riotous explosion of the multiple expressions that we children of the rainbow know is possible.
"We invite everyone to Unity/Unidad 2001. The organizing committee for this event has planned a day that will be beneficial, thought provoking, and fun. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Unity/Unidad co-chairs Sandra Nichols and Lorrainne Sade Baskerville. Furthermore, we want to thank the groups who have joined together with us to organize the event. These groups include the MOCHA Coalition of the Chicago Department of Health, Chicago Gay Tours, Adodi, Affinity, Association of Latino Men in Action, Chicago Department of Health: Office of Lesbian and Gay Health, City Project at University of Illinois, Color Triangle, Equality Illinois, Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Horizons Community Services, Lambda Publications ( Windy City Times, BLACKlines, En La Vida, Windy City Radio, etc. ) , Literary Exchange, Open Hand Chicago, transGenesis, and Test Positive Aware Network. Call ( 312 ) 409-4917 or e-mail CBLG2k1@aol.com ."