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LGBTQ+ activists celebrated at Fahrenheit Chicago Honors, launch of Lorde, Rustin & Bates, inc.
by Cris Villalonga-Vivoni
2021-10-24

This article shared 921 times since Sun Oct 24, 2021
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In the beautiful, amber atmosphere of the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St., numerous well-known Chicago LGBTQ+ activists gathered to celebrate each other and look toward the community's future.

The sixth annual Fahrenheit Honors cocktail reception, held Oct. 22, celebrated Chicago's LGBTQ+ activists who have been working to improve the lives of Black, Brown and Latinx people, locally and statewide.

This year's honorees included Mona Noriega, chairwoman of Illinois Commission on Human Rights; Dr. Maya Green, regional director for Howard Brown Health; Antonio King, LGBTQ+ liaison for the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH); and Bishop Keith McQueen and his husband Derrick Howell-McQueen of Powerhouse Church Ministries. In addition, the event commemorated the work of Brave Space Alliance (BSA) and South Side Help Center.

"When you do this work, it is a thankless job," said McQueen during his acceptance speech. "You make peace in this assignment — that history will be able to celebrate what it is that you're doing, even though people in the present may not recognize the significance of what it is that you're attempting to do."

The event also marked the launching of Lorde, Rustin & Bates (LRB), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Illinois non-profit agency that "works [toward] structural and systemic level changes," according to Anthony Galloway, LRB's senior managing director. "We look at fixing the root causes and we'd like to commemorate and celebrate Black and Brown LGBTQ+ individuals."

Named after three prominent Black national and local activists—Audre Lorde, Bayard Rustin and Lois Bates—LRB collaborates with local Black and Latinx businesses to help address societal issues impacting the community. This method of doing business also ensures that the money that is spent on the community stays within the community. For example, Soul & Smoke—a local Black-owned, woman-led barbecue restaurant—catered the reception.

"We're looking at how we can come together and plan cultural activities and do the work," Galloway said.

Each honoree had a part to play in the relaunching of LRB, Galloway said. He told the stories of how he met the honorees and gave a brief description of what they have done to help the Black and Latinx community.

"We just do the work," said King during his acceptance speech. "We don't do it for the accolades. We certainly don't do it for the money. But that's not why we're here. I stand on the shoulders of so many people."

The night wrapped up with a lip-sync extravaganza featuring local drag queens Phoenix Black O'Hara, Amailia Black and Dyamond V. Carrington. As each queen performed, the audience clapped and whooped as the girls strutted up and down the room. Some patrons even gave dollar tips—mimicking the feel of a full-fledged, at-the-club drag show. At the end of the performance, the queens' CashApps were announced and Galloway prompted everyone to tip the girls on behalf of LRB.

Although LRB is only just getting started, Galloway has high hopes.

In a collaborative project with Black Alphabet, LRB will be launching a vaccination campaign Monday, Nov. 1, to encourage the Black and Latinx communities to get vaccinated.

LRB and Fahrenheit Chicago will also be hosting an Art & Soul salon on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, at the Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr. This event will highlight the talent of local Black and LatinX artists.

"I see us organizing the community to make the positive level of change," he said. "We are really looking at Black and Latinx people to create the change that they see."

To learn more about LRB's work and upcoming events, see http://lorderustinbates.org/.


This article shared 921 times since Sun Oct 24, 2021
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