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Chicago House brunch to honor Jakobbson
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Matt Simonette

This article shared 3464 times since Tue Apr 29, 2014
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Chicago House and Social Service Agency is putting finishing touches on its 26th annual Spring Brunch and Fashion Show, to be held in the Winter Garden Ballroom at Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St., on May 4.

The brunch this year pays tribute to state Rep. Naomi Jakobbson, who will be presented with Chicago House's Spirit Award. Jakobbson will be introduced by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz.

Chicago House CEO the Rev. Stan Sloan said that he wanted the brunch to honor Jakobsson's selflessness at the time of the Illinois marriage equality vote in November. On Nov. 5, she left the bedside of her terminally ill son and drove to Springfield to cast one of the deciding votes in favor of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. By the time she returned home, her son had passed away.

"We thought her courage and her complete selflessness warranted the award," Sloan said. "It's one thing for us to be fighting for our own civil equality, but it's another thing when someone, who doesn't have to fight, leaves her son's deathbed to cast a vote—It's true altruism, which is so rare."

Past recipients of the Spirit Award, which usually honors public policy figures who have acted on behalf of the LGBT community, include Feigenholtz, state Rep. Lou Lang and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky. Jeremy Hilborn will also be honored at this year's brunch, which is being chaired by Ted Grady of J&L Catering; Ross Slotten of Klein & Slotten Medical Associates; and Mallory Ulaszek of Roam Boutique.

Sloan said that the Spring Brunch, which usually sells out, generally nets about $150,000 to go towards Chicago House's work.

"Right now, with everything that's going on with advancements in AIDS research, it's completely different than it was even a year or two ago," he added. "It's the same with With our LGBTQ civil equality and our awareness of poverty—it's different than it's ever been. The brunch is a celebration of the progress we've made and a looking forward to the journeys ahead."

Chicago House's mission is serving individuals and families who are "disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV-prevention services, legal services and other supportive programs."

According to Sloan, the organization is heightening its participation in work that mitigates the effects of poverty within the LGBT community. He called the opening of Chicago House's TransLife Center the "first step" in the organization's approach to the issue. "Out of the whole LGBTQ rainbow, poverty disproportionately affects the trans community much more."

He said that he'd like to see members of the LGBT community do a better job of taking care of one another.

"There was an article a few months back that said, in San Francisco, where our social service structures are actually the strongest, 29 percent of people in the homeless community identify as LGBTQ. That percentage stays consistent across age ranges," he said, adding, "We are on the verge of having full civil equality recognized by our government. The question becomes, how do we do a better job of taking care of one another? Do 'mainstream' LGBTQ [individuals] who've been fighting for their own rights now just give up the fight, or do we keep fighting for the rights of those in our community who still need our help?"

For more information on the Spring Brunch and Fashion Show, as well as Chicago House, visit .

This article shared 3464 times since Tue Apr 29, 2014
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