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Lighthouse Foundation releases first Black Queer Equity Index report card
by Lu Calzada
2024-04-02

This article shared 11780 times since Tue Apr 2, 2024
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After three years of working with a small group of Chicago LGBTQ+ organizations, Lighthouse Foundation released its inaugural Black Queer Equity Index (BQEI) report this past week, ranking how each organization supports five areas of support for Black LGBTQ+ folks.

Following a day of learning at Lighthouse Foundation's 2024 Workforce Development Conference for Black LGBTQ+ Professionals March 30, folks gathered to network and learn the BQEI grades of the four Chicago organizations—AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), Center on Halsted, Chicago House and Howard Brown Health.

In overall grades, no group received an A, with AFC and Center on Halsted receiving B's, Chicago House receiving a D and Howard Brown an F. The overall grades stem from the grades on the five key areas analyzed — resource allocation, giving voice and power, professional development, individual action to systemic action and data collection.

Lighthouse Foundation Executive Director Rev. Jamie Frazier said this year's grades are in part to establish a baseline for the organizations to improve. Lighthouse will offer individual consultation sessions to provide in-depth feedback and suggestions for improvements ahead of their re-grading in 2025, alongside a new cohort who will be graded then as well.

"These organizations are dedicated to getting better grades," he said. "We're going to talk about what concrete steps need to be taken in order to redress the issues identified by the report card, see that these organizations get better grades, and ultimately ensure that Black queer employees and board members are treated better—and that our entire communities are better served by these organizations."

In order to gather the data needed for grading, Frazier said Lighthouse first sent out a demographic survey to the cohort which was then shared throughout the organizations and their clients, yielding over 100 responses. Next, 40-50 Black queer workers responded to a more in-depth qualitative survey about their experiences at work, and around 10 were personally interviewed in focus groups by Lighthouse.

Frazier highlighted the BQEI as something that's not just a report card, but "a set of actionable interventions." One of those actions was implementing the Workforce Development Conference to provide something the Black queer community needed, and he hopes they can continue to assist the community through this type of research.

"The BQEI identifies problems and then Lighthouse Foundation works to co-create solutions alongside the BQEI surveyed organizations," he said. "We are taking the power unto ourselves to say, 'We want to build out the solutions that we need.'"

Frazier said Lighthouse will also be holding another soul food brunch May 11 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Wilson Abbey, 935 W. Wilson Ave., where Black queer folks and non-Black queer industry leaders alike can come learn about BQEI and enjoy a fun day out.

The report card can be found at lightfoundchi.org/bqei.


This article shared 11780 times since Tue Apr 2, 2024
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