CHICAGO On October 1, 2021, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker released his 2021 Boards and Commissions Appointment Demographics Report. The bottom line of the report is that a wider cross section of Illinoisans are applying and being appointed to serve on state Boards and Commissions.
"By ensuring those who serve on critical state Boards and Commissions represent the full diversity of our state, the Governor is making a strong statement that all talented Illinoisans deserve a seat at the table," shared Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson. "When the broad range of Illinois perspectives are involved in key decision making," Johnson added, "we come to the best possible solutions for our state."
Myles Brady Davis, Communications Director and Press Secretary for Equality Illinois pointed out that having LGBTQ people sit at all levels of public office is important for two reasons. First, they shared "such representation ensures that the unique needs and challenges that LGBTQ people face will be brought into consideration when decisions are being made. Second, it lifts up the leadership of LGBTQ people. When LGBTQ people are visible leaders in the community, their experiences and stories can be shared, and anti-LGBTQ stigma can be confronted and defeated more forcefully."
In addition to the 6% of appointees who identify as LGBTQ, LGBTQ applicants made up 11% of all applicants. Emma Vosicky leads Equality Illinois' State Boards and Commissions Project and partners with nearly a dozen LGBTQ community groups across the state to cultivate top LGBTQ talent for appointment. Vosicky remarked "clearly, more and more LGBTQ Illinoisans are being inspired to seek appointments into key posts by Governor Pritzker."
Looking beyond, LGBTQ appointees, Governor Pritzker and his team placed a broad diversity of talent into these key positions:
- 48% of appointees identifies as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) up from only 17% of appointees in the year before Governor Pritzker took office
- Women made up 55% of all appointees this year, up from only 36% of appointees in the year before Governor Pritzker took office.
- People living with disabilities made up 9% of all appointees, up from only 4% of appointees in the year before Governor Pritzker took office.
Despite these remarkable gains, there is important work left to do. Only 1 self-identified trans or gender non-conforming individual was appointed this past year, despite 20 applicants for positions. Equality Illinois and our partners look forward to working with the Governor and his team to ensure trans and gender non-conforming Illinoisans are appointed to more leadership positions throughout his administration so that all of Illinois can benefit from the talent, perspectives, and wisdom of our state's strongest trans leaders.
To view the full report at: Appointment Demographics Report: www2.illinois.gov/sites/bac/Documents/2021-Boards-and-Commissions-Act-Report-10.1.2021.pdf .