Since its founding in 1989, OPALGA, the Oak Park Area lesbian & gay Association, has served Oak Park and the surrounding areas' lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning citizens. "As a grassroots organization, we have benefitted from strong support from the broader community," they stated in a press release.
The OPAL Award, the Oak Park Area Leadership Award, recognizes outstanding efforts on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the Oak Park area. Candidates may have worked independently of OPALGA to promote diversity and/or the elimination of discrimination. OPAL Award recipients exemplify the spirit of community-wide efforts in the promotion of diversity, while working towards the goal of eliminating discrimination in all its forms.
This year's Awards go to the Honorable Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris ( 13th District ), the Honorable Illinois state Sen. Don Harmon ( 39th District ), and the publisher and executive editor of Windy City Media Group, Tracy Baim, for their untiring efforts in making marriage equality a reality in Illinois.
Proceeds from the OPAL Gala Benefit will be shared by the following:
1 ) OPALGA Education Scholarship Fund
OPALGA scholarships provide financial support for the continuing education of: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning students; children of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender parents; allies of the LGBTQ community.
Scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each are available for college-bound graduates of designated Oak Park area high schools who are: seniors with demonstrated service, activism and understanding of the LGBTQ community or advanced-degree students planning to work with the LGBTQ community.
2 ) The Lakeside Pride Marching Band
The Lakeside Pride Marching Band, part of the Lakeside Pride Ensembles, is committed to the education of the public at large about the positive aspects of the metropolitan Chicago LGBT community through public musical performances, workshops and non-musical events. For three consecutive years the Lakeside Pride Marching Band has been a crowd-pleaser as part of the OPALGA contingent in the Oak Park July 4th Parade. In recognition of this enthusiastic support, OPALGA's contribution will go toward the band's uniform fund.
3 ) The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest
The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest acquires, collects, preserves and displays materials and literature relevant to the history of the Oak Park and River Forest area; operates an archive, library and museum; and provide means and facilities for the study of the history of Oak Park and River Forest environs.
The Historical Society has agreed to become the archival repository for OPALGA's historical documents and artifacts.
The Saturday, Oct. 25 event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the 19th Century Club in Oak Park.
See opalga.org/ .