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
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Eugene Sawyer Dies
by Amy Wooten
2008-02-01

This article shared 3079 times since Fri Feb 1, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Former Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, who helped push through legislation key to the local gay and lesbian community in the late '80s, died Jan. 19 at Hinsdale Hospital after a long battle with complications from a stroke. He was 73.

Sawyer was originally a reluctant leader. He was Chicago's second African-American mayor, selected by a divided City Council as Harold Washington's successor in 1987. Washington, who died while in office, had presided over a tumultuous period in Chicago's political history, and Sawyer was seen as a compromise candidate. Although he was mayor for only two years, he was able to play an important role in advancing the rights of the local LGBT community.

While Sawyer was in office, the City Council passed the Human Rights Ordinance in December 1988—something Harold Washington was unable to accomplish. The passing of that law, which protects gay, lesbian and bisexual people from discrimination in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations, was critical to the local movement. Gender identity was added to the ordinance several years later.

Former Ald. William Beavers, a friend of Sawyer who is now on the Cook County Board, talked about what the former mayor did for the gay community. 'Harold always wanted to get a gay rights ordinance passed, but he couldn't get it passed,' Beavers told The Chicago Tribune. 'Gene got it passed.'

'He had been an old-school … alderman, tied only to his constituency, and originally voted no on the human-rights ordinance,' recalled local activist and writer Achy Obejas. 'But during his months in office, he was transformed by the challenge the gay and lesbian community put forth … and he became our champion, risking everything by pushing through the ordinance. In the end, he really believed in the purpose and morality of the law. I counted him as a friend, to us, as well as personally, and I will miss him very much.'

Rick Garcia, one of the key activists lobbying for the gay-rights bill, stated to Windy City Times, 'We mourn the passing of Mayor Eugene Sawyer. He not only brought the city together during a raucous time, it was under his influence and leadership that the gay-rights ordinance was passed in City Council in 1988. I deeply appreciate his commitment to our community and [am] grateful for his leadership on gay issues.'

Prior to being elected mayor, Sawyer was alderman of the South Side's 6th Ward from 1971 to 1988. He ran for a full term as mayor in 1989, but lost to current Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Sawyer had three children—sons Roderick and Shedrick and daughter Sheryl (McGill), who began heading the city's Department of Human Services in 2006.

Sawyer was buried Jan. 26 in Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 E. 67th.


This article shared 3079 times since Fri Feb 1, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Equality Act would provide federal civil rights protections to 13M LGBTs
2021-02-26
--From a press release - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, federal legislation that would expressly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under existing civil rights laws. LGBT ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS Chicago alderman exploring secretary of state run
2021-02-26
According to Politico Playbook, Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) is exploring the possibility of running for secretary of state. I know I can build on the work that Secretary [of State Jesse] White has done ...


Gay News

Harris reveals legislative agenda for 2021
2021-02-26
--From a press release - With remote committee hearings starting next week, the Spring Session is now truly underway. I wanted to share my legislative agenda for this year with you. In addition to my duties as chief budget negotiator for ...


Gay News

Mike Madigan picks second successor
2021-02-26
On Feb. 25, Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar was sworn in as the new 22nd District state representative, media outlets reported. Guerrero-Cuellar is the second person to succeed now-former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in less than a week. ...


Gay News

House passes Equality Act, LGBTQ Victory Institute demands Senate vote
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute — the only national organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ elected officials — applauded the U.S. House for passing the Equality Act and called on U.S. senators not to filibuster ...


Gay News

Vaccine eligibility opens to Illinoisans with serious medical conditions
2021-02-25
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Building on efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Health today announced that Illinoisans with serious medical conditions can be vaccinated ...


Gay News

Dr. Rachel Levine confirmation hearing today, to be first trans Senate-confirmed appointee
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today Dr. Rachel Levine will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about her experience and qualifications to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health. If moved ...


Gay News

Victory Institute condemns Rand Paul attack on Dr. Rachel Levine, trans youth
2021-02-25
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Institute condemned Senator Rand Paul's transphobic attack on Dr. Rachel Levine during her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He attacked trans you ...


Gay News

Advocates, legislators introduce bill to decriminalize HIV in Illinois
2021-02-25
--From a press release - SPRINGFIELD, IL - Legislation was introduced in Springfield this week to end criminal penalties against people living with HIV (PLWH), which serve only to stigmatize and discriminate against PLWH. Current Illinois law makes legal behavior — ...


Gay News

Three Illinoisans among Victory Fund's latest endorsed candidates
2021-02-24
On Feb. 24, LGBTQ Victory Fund—the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office—issued a press release announcing its endorsement of 30 more LGBTQ candidates for 2021 races. Illinois candidates in the group ...


Gay News

Daniel Biss wins Evanston mayoral race
2021-02-24
Former Illinois state Sen. Daniel Biss, a Democrat, won the Evanston mayoral race on Feb. 23, media outlets reported. An hour after polls closed, Biss had collected more than 73 percent of the votes counted and ...


Gay News

Mike Madigan now wants successor to step down
2021-02-24
Just two days after appointing Edward Guerra Kodatt as his successor, former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has asked him to step down, according to various media outlets. Marty Quinn, alderman of Chicago's 13th Ward, joined ...


Gay News

1.3 million adult immigrants in the US identify as LGBT
2021-02-23
--From a press release - LGBT immigrants are more often male and younger compared to all immigrants in the country An estimated 1,274,500 LGBT foreign-born adults live in the U.S., including 289,700 who are undocumented and 984,800 who are documented, according ...


Gay News

Madigan resigns as state Democratic chair
2021-02-23
On Feb. 22, former longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan resigned as chairman of the state Democratic Party—one day after anointing 26-year-old constituent services worker Edward Guerra Kodatt to fill the legislative seat he held for ...


Gay News

Mike Madigan chooses successor
2021-02-21
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Feb. 21 he hasn't made a decision on how long he will continue as state Democratic Party chairman as he installed a 26-year-old constituent services worker as his successor ...


 



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


 



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.