To Windy City Times:
Barry Aldridge's letter to the editor in the Feb. 15 issue shifts blame for Gerber/Hart's difficulties to irresponsible reporting that attacks the organization and to an apathetic community that won't do the work the organization needs.
I see it differently. I am a former board member, a former volunteer who organized programs at the library, a former large donor to the organization and a person who has devoted his life to LGBT history. Under the seven-plus year leadership of the current president, the number of people who take on significant roles that require initiative and independent action has shrunk badly. The reduction of the board to only two local people is the best evidence of that. Concerned about this, I offered in September to put together a full board of directors, with the range of skills that an organization like Gerber/Hart needs. The president, Karen Sendziak, reacted with a level of hostility and antagonism that shocked me. It was as if I was proposing to steal her most prized possession. And that's a problemwhen leaders becomes so emotionally invested that they can't distinguish between their needs and the welfare of the organization.
Sendziak works herself to the bone for Gerber/Hart. Anyone who knows her knows that she loves the organization. She has kept its doors open. But that's just about all Gerber/Hart isan organization whose doors are open. It would be hard to argue that Gerber/Hart is a vibrant accessible organization that makes our history a living breathing part of the community. Instead, it looks like a dilapidated second-hand bookstore.
Hopes with Propes
I am writing to correct what I see as an injustice. For those who do not know me, I have, for more than 40 years, been representing LGBT individuals, businesses and community organizations.
Many years ago, I asked Lorna Propes to help me defend a 20-year-old gay man on a charge of murder. Due to her prodigious skills as an advocate, she kept the trial focused on the real issues at a time when judges, prosecutors and juries were noticeably prejudiced against gay people, viz., Queer Injustice, Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie and Kay Whitlock. The witnesses, many of whom were gay, were treated with dignity, thanks to Lorna's strong sense that all people be treated with respect for who they are as individuals. Her performance was especially heroic because we were in a courtroom where the judge had been censured by the judicial inquiry board for his open hostility to female attorneys.
Lorna is already sitting as a judge, having been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a judicial vacancy. She is running to be elected in her own right. All the bar associations, save one, have accorded her their highest rating to serve as a Judge. The only bar association that has rated her unqualified is LAGBAC (the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago); the rating mystifies me and others, including some gay judges and community leaders I have spoken with.
Lorna is preeminently one to be concerned that justice will prevail in her courtroom. When someone has proven that the LGBT community can rely upon her support, the community should support them. I am urging that there be a strong showing of LGBT support for her judicial candidacy. Please make an extra effort to find her name on the ballot and vote for Lorna Propes.
Edward Mogul was the founding attorney for the Howard Brown Clinic and is president of the Unicorn Foundation.