Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Equality House ally at Legacy benefit
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2013-05-08

This article shared 4418 times since Wed May 8, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Aaron Jackson has made quite a statement without even saying a word, just with a little paint.

Jackson, 31, had been hearing about the Westboro Baptist Church and its staunch anti-gay ways for some time, so last year he went online to research the group, starting with where it is based.

He found it in Topeka, Kan., and then just continued his online research with Google Earth—and saw that the house right across the street from the church was for sale.

"My first response was, 'No way! That's too good to be true,'" said Jackson, who is straight.

He called the realtor and learned the house was no longer for sale, but the house next to that was for sale.

Jackson's charity—Planting Peace, which has concentrated on rainforest conservation, opening orphanages and deworming programs—purchased the home for about $83,000 "with the full intent of painting it the colors of the [gay] pride flag," he said.

The multicolored painting was done in mid-March.

Jackson will be in Chicago Friday, May 10, as the keynote speaker for the Legacy Project Gala Luncheon at the Palmer House, starting at noon.

The luncheon's theme—THE LEGACY PROJECT: Making a Difference for LGBT Youth—will celebrate the arrival of the Legacy Walk along Halsted Street in Lakeview last October and the April launch of the Legacy Project Education Initiative (LPEI) for LGBT youth. The luncheon also will feature the first reveal of the 2013 candidates for induction to the Legacy Walk.

Jackson said of his rainbow house, "We knew we would get some publicity for this, but never realized it would become what it has, with so much publicity and so well received worldwide. It's really been a humbling experience to receive support from so many people."

The project, dubbed Equality House, is the first in a new campaign Jackson's Planting Peace plans against Westboro. The house gets about 200 visitors daily, just to have their photo taken in front of it, and about 500 on weekends.

"I never thought it'd become that popular," said Jackson, who lives in the house with two other staff members.

Equality House has not endured any vandalism, and Jackson isn't worried if it ever does. "We have [extra] paint; we'll just re-paint it. We're not leaving, and I'm not too worried about it," he said.

"I've been trying to get my charity into supporting the equality initiative, but I didn't necessarily know what to do, or how to go about doing that. The gay [debate] is so silly to me that we haven't made a lot of progress [going forward]. I keep thinking, 'When are we going to catch up with the times, more or less.'"

The Westboro Baptist Church has made multiple comments, and posted pictures and videos about Equality House and the evils of gay life. The church and Jackson's charity have even tweeted back and forth, he said, "and for the most part, it's been pretty civil."

Jackson has met several church members, including Shirley Phelps-Roper, church spokesperson, and she was "very pleasant," he said. "On a one-to-one basis, they actually are very kind, which is very surprising to some. But when they get in front of a camera, that's when their message changes.

"Our original goal was, there are LGBTQ youth who commit suicide annually, and others who are thinking about it, and part of the reason why is, there's this message out there that, because they are gay, they are less-than. Our goal is simple, to counter that message—and we thought no better place to start than [near] the Westboro Baptist Church. If we help one person, then I think it will be worth it. And I think we have."

Jackson has received letters, emails and calls from young LGBTQ from all over the world, he said, claiming their support and stating how much the Equality House means to them. "We're appreciative and humbled by their support," Jackson said.

Planting Peace soon will launch a national anti-bullying program, one that goes into schools and discusses the topic, Jackson said.

"When I read about what Aaron Jackson had achieved in Topeka, I couldn't help but break into a broad smile. The pictures just tickled me," said Victor Salvo, founder and executive director for The Legacy Project. "The idea to pursue him to be our speaker at this year's luncheon was a lark, really. After a couple of false leads I finally found Planting Peace's website. I was stunned by the success he has achieved in his work on behalf of the children of the world, particularly in Guatemala and Haiti, and on behalf of the environment by addressing the effects of deforestation.

"The sheer audacity of taking on the Westboro Baptist [Church,] right in [its] own back yard, was the icing on the cake. Aaron is such a cool guy. I am thrilled and so very grateful that he will be lending his voice to support our mission to give LGBT kids, who endure taunts and bullying every day, sometimes [even] by their own families, a cultural and historic context for people like themselves. Kids need role models. They need to know that people care."

Jackson said it's "pretty humbling" that The Legacy Project reached out to invite him to speak—and he truly admires the mission of The Legacy Project.

"I think it's a phenomenal idea," he said. "Helping to secure the legacy of gay-rights activists, and letting people know what they were able to accomplish, is extremely important for the history of the LGBTQ community."

Jackson was in Chicago in April, speaking in suburban Hinsdale.

"I love Chicago, though unfortunately I don't get to spend much time truly enjoying the city, and I've never been to a Cubs game, yet," he said.

For Legacy Project tickets, visit legacyprojectchicago.org/Luncheon_2013_Tickets.html. Sean Lewis of WGN-TV is hosting the May 10 luncheon.


This article shared 4418 times since Wed May 8, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LGBT History Month: Reclaiming 41, journey to heal notorious trauma for LGBT Mexicans 2021-10-11
- Until recently, Alberto B. Mendoza hated 41. He cringed if his dinner bill or hotel room number had the number in it, and with the countdown to his 41st birthday, he dreaded the year to come. ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, in 30th year, holds induction ceremony at Sidetrack 2021-10-07
- The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th year, held its annual induction ceremony for 2021 inductees October 6 at Sidetrack, sponsored by Sidetrack, J&L Catering, Rick Aguilar Photography, and Dalila Fridi and Elizabeth McNight. ...


Gay News

PHIMC to present second Mary F. Morten Award on Nov. 7 2021-10-06
- Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago (PHIMC) announced Chicago Freedom School as the 2021 recipient of the Mary F. Morten Award for Justice. According to a release, "Chicago Freedom School is being recognized for its vital ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Moulin Rouge!,' gay play 'The Inheritance' win top Tonys 2021-09-27
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical was the runaway winner at the Tony Awards on Sept. 26, snagging 10 awards. Among its honors were Best Musical, Best Performance By an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical ...


Gay News

Mayor Lightfoot to present awards at Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame induction ceremony 2021-09-21
- The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th year, announced today that it will hold a scaled-back version of its annual induction ceremony for 2021 inductees on Wednesday Oct. 6, at 5:30-8 p.m. The event ...


Gay News

Few LGBTQ nods from the Emmys even as RuPaul makes TV history 2021-09-21
- Netflix's The Crown and Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso were among the big winners as the Television Academy presented its 2021 Emmy Awards on Sept. 19 in Los Angeles. While the Academy had drawn praise for the ...


Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs 2021-09-13
- The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards. Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi ...


Gay News

Nat'l Black Justice Coalition, James Baldwin Legacy Awards honor Black elders 2021-08-21
--From a press release - On Saturday, August 21, 2021, at 12:00pm ET, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and AARP, will host a virtual celebration entitled the James Baldwin Legacy Awards in honor of the invaluable contributions of Black men ...


Gay News

Jered Pruitt, CASL COO, honored as a Crain's Chicago Business 2021 Notable LGBTQ Exec 2021-08-06
- Chicago — The Chinese American Service League (CASL), the largest AAPI social service agency in the Midwest, is proud to announce that Chief Operating Officer Jered Pruitt was honored as a Crain's Chicago Business 2021 Notable ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks members for selection committee 2021-06-10
- The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th anniversary, invited the LGBTQ+ community to nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, and allies for the 2021 Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and the response was tremendous. The Chicago ...


Gay News

NBC Out releases annual #Pride30 list 2021-06-05
--From a press release - NBC Out, part of NBCNews.com, has released its annual #Pride30 list, recognizing members of the LGBTQ community around the world who are making a difference. This year's list honors 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...


Gay News

Wisconsin LGBTQ History fundraiser honors 60th anniversary of LGBTQ uprising 2021-06-01
--From a press release - Milwaukee, WI - As Pride Month kicks off today across America, the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project is launching a campaign to celebrate the birthplace of "pride" in Wisconsin, recognize a turning point in local LGBTQ history, ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT veterans honor the fallen on Memorial Day 2021-05-31
- The Chicago Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) honored the fallen on Memorial Day with flowers at the granite monument on Halsted Street and Addison which honors LGBTQ veterans. The monument was commissioned ...


Gay News

West Hollywood celebrates Pride on Harvey Milk Day, honors Lady Gaga and The Abbey 2021-05-24
- Each year in California, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with its 40-day-long One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. The festival kicked off on Harvey Milk Day (May ...


Gay News

Little library honoring John Pennycuff is unveiled 2021-05-24
- Chicago's Unity Park Advisory Council (UPAC) held "Park Day" May 22 at the site, 2636 N. Kimball Ave.—and one of the events involved the unveiling of a custom-designed little library that honors late LGBTQ-rights activist John ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

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.