Lambda Legal raised nearly $500,000 on April 24 as it commemorated 20 years in Chicago at the annual Bon Foster Celebration.
Robert Bonvouloir "Bon" Foster was a civil rights attorney who died of AIDS-related complications in 1991. A generous donation from his estate helped launch the Lambda Legal Midwest Regional Office in 1993.
"In true Chicago fashion, the plans for our work in the Midwest were bigand they needed to be," said Mona Noriega, who helped open the Lambda Chicago office with attorney Patricia Logue. Noriega now chairs the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. "In 1993, we knew that if we were to get the basic rights, dignity and respect which we were entitled, we would have to demand them."
View Noriega's remarks here: www.youtube.com/watch .
During a reception in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute guests sampled hors d'oeuvres by Bon Appetit and listened to music from DJ Sadie Woods.
Lambda leadership honored Logue, who is now a judge, and Heather Sawyer, a former Lambda attorney who currently serves as minority counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
Employment rights and Illinois marriage equality were hot topics at the Wednesday night event.
"As we're honoring Bon Foster's legacy, 'any day now' is not an answer that's very good," Midwest Regional Director Jim Bennett said. "It's the answer that our parents gave us when we wanted to have a sleepover or when we wanted to go to Disney World.
View Jim Bennett making his remarks at www.youtube.com/watch .
"I believe we have to do the same thing that we would do to our parents to get [the marriage equality] bill done," he said, "and that is to torment the people that make the decision."
The Bon Foster Celebration was co-chaired by Mona Noriega, John McGowan, Mark Braun and Laura Ricketts. McGowan spoke passionately about growing up in a rural area in Northern Illinois, and how he has been trying to convince the state representative there to commit to marriage equality.
View video by Tracy Baim of the speech by John McGowan, co-chair of the Lambda Legal Midwest Bon Foster Awards for 2013 here: www.youtube.com/watch .
View video by Tracy Baim of Camilla Taylor's remarks here: www.youtube.com/watch .
View video by Tracy Baim of Kevin Cathcart's remarks here: www.youtube.com/watch .
Additional photo spread here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/photospreadthumbs.php .