Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce elects first Black LGBTQ president in organization's history
by Max Lubbers
2021-11-24

This article shared 1468 times since Wed Nov 24, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In November, the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce elected Darien Marion-Burton to serve as the organization's first Black LGBTQ president.

Marion-Burton will begin his role in January 2022 and said he's excited to bring a fresh perspective to the chamber. Often, chambers of commerce are stereotyped to be stuffy, conservative groups, Marion-Burton explained. He wants to change that perception.

"It's just a group of business owners who got together that want to advocate for their businesses, that want to build community, and that really want to make a change here locally," he said. "I think we're going to be able to connect better with our community and we're going to be able to be more inclusive."

As a Oak Park community member through and through, it means everything to Marion-Burton to take on this role, he said. Today, he lives just four blocks away from where he grew up as a child. He still regularly passes by the well-loved restaurant Buzz Cafe, where he worked when he was a teenager, and he said he values all the time he's spent in the town.

"I always kind of felt this sense of community, and that this was my space and these were my people, even if they didn't necessarily look like me or have (the) same socioeconomic backgrounds as me," he said. "It's really affirming now to be leading such an important organization in our community."

Growing up, Marion-Burton always envisioned himself becoming a leader in Oak Park. But to achieve this feat at age 28 is something he couldn't have imagined, he said.

He also hopes that his young age will help him create a "cool and collaborative" chamber of commerce, especially as Oak Park increasingly draws in a younger demographic of people.

"I have the ability to see things very differently than somebody who's maybe 40 or 50, in terms of what the broader issues are," he said. "Especially for our business owners who are just starting out and maybe don't have that brick-and-mortar location yet, [I can know] what they're experiencing."

His own history as a business owner will also aid him in the role, he added. As the founder and owner of the marketing agency D.M. Burton, he helps businesses grow and thrive every day. He began the company in 2018, about a year after he started to become active in the chamber.

Since then, he's served on the chamber's Golf Outing Planning Committee, hosted the Inside the Chamber Podcast and chaired the Business Spotlight Soiree, which celebrated local businesses for their adaptability through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marion-Burton said he owes much of his own success to the chamber, and he wants to pass that on to others. As part of that effort, one of his first goals as president is to create a Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) affinity group for business owners.

"I started my business with $3,000 in my bank account and a handful of connections and we've grown to almost a quarter of a million dollar firm in three years," he said. "It's because of the chamber, from the people I've met to the connections I've made, to the coffees I've gone to. I wouldn't be sitting here today if it weren't for this organization."

He also said he's ready to dive into some of the challenges facing businesses, including the lasting effects of COVID-19 on small businesses and the retention problems that much of the workforce is facing.

People have stayed incredibly resilient through these issues, but he said he wants the chamber to provide further support for the community. So he also plans to create an employee-sharing program and workplace development program.

"So many times that we've looked at employee and employer relations, it's kind of this 'us versus them' mentality," he said. "We need to create something that's balanced for everybody."

As he plans out his goals and prepares for the role, Marion-Burton said he's been surprised by the number of people telling him how much he's inspired them. But he also realizes the significance of being elected.

Even something as simple as being himself can break boundaries. Marion-Burton recalled one time where someone made a comment about his painted nails, which he said he was able to shut down pretty quickly. These small interactions can sometimes create a big impact—and he hopes to continue to have these conversations and create progress as president.

"Being the youngest, the blackest and the gayest president has really opened my eyes to the change that I'm making by simply existing and bringing all my identities to the table," he said. "I think that being able to have that experience, being young and living in a business I just started three years ago, is going to allow me to take a unique lens."


This article shared 1468 times since Wed Nov 24, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

News is Out, Word In Black, Comcast NBCUniversal welcomes 16 Journalism Fellows to cover Black, LGBTQ+ communities 2024-04-16
- Philadelphia (April 15, 2024) — Today, News is Out and Word In Black, together announced the 16 fellows selected for The Digital Equity Local Voices Lab, a new initiative powered by Comcast NBCUniversal to place journalists ...


Gay News

First Queer and BIPOC-owned Illinois cannabis company opens Northalsted dispensary 2024-04-12
- A small group gathered April 12 at 3340 N. Halsted St. to celebrate the grand opening of a historic new Northalsted business. SWAY, Illinois' first queer and BIPOC-owned cannabis company, marked the opening of its dispensary ...


Gay News

Women & Children First marks its 45th anniversary 2024-04-11
By Tatiana Walk-Morris - It has been about 45 years since Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon co-founded the Women & Children First bookstore in 1979. In its early days, the two were earning their English degrees at the University of ...


Gay News

Big Gay Sal's, pizzeria named after owner's larger-than-life presence, opens in Northalsted 2024-04-10
- Salvador Mora has always been known for his cheerful smile, warm hugs and big heart, but now it's his pizza that has people talking. Mora co-owns Big Gay Sal's, a late-night pizzeria that opened in March ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks nominations for 2024 induction 2024-04-09
--From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame has announced a call for nominations for the 2024 class of inductees into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Those wishing to may nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, or "Friends of ...


Gay News

First of LGBTQ+-owned dispensaries set to open in Northalsted 2024-04-01
By Tatiana Walk-Morris - Since 1970, 3340 N Halsted St. had been the home of the Townhall Pub, the beloved cash-only dive bar known for its tasty drinks and friendly staff. But after Townhall's former owner William Bucholtz passed away ...


Gay News

City Lit Executive Artistic Director Brian Pastor talks theater, comics, queerness 2024-03-26
- City Lit Theater has announced its programming for the 2024-25 season—which will be the company's 44th. It will also be the first season to be programmed under the leadership of Brian Pastor (they/them), who will assume ...


Gay News

Brown Elephant returns to Northalsted 2024-03-26
- Brown Elephant's Lake View location is moving to Northalsted and already accepting donations. Howard Brown Health, the largest LGBTQ+ health center in the midwest, operates three Brown Elephant resale shops in the Chicagoland area to help ...


Gay News

Center on Halsted's signature Human First Gala to return 2024-03-11
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Center on Halsted's signature Human First Gala will be held on Saturday, April 20 at The Geraghty. The gala brings together LGBTQ+ community members and allies for an evening of celebration to recognize ...


Gay News

SAVOR At Willies 'n Waffles, sexuality is on the menu 2024-02-12
- Having written about Chicago's culinary scene for at least 15 years, this writer has covered all sorts of spots—from Michelin-starred upscale establishments to those so-called "holes in the wall" that can serve some of the best ...


Gay News

Chicagoans indulge in a World of Chocolate 2024-02-11
- AIDS Foundation of Chicago hosted its 2024 World of Chocolate celebration the evening of Feb. 9 at Union Station. Top chocolatiers from across the city allowed guests to sample numerous confections, hors d'oevres and libations for ...


Gay News

TAWANI Foundation commits $25K to StartOut, supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship 2024-02-08
--From a press release - CHICAGO — February 8, 2024 — The TAWANI Foundation, a 501(c)(3) that provides support in the areas of arts and culture, historical preservation, health and wellness, LGBTQ+ and human rights ...


Gay News

The Jeff Awards announces the 50th-anniversary non-Equity theater nominations 2024-02-06
--From a press release - (Feb. 6, 2024 - Chicago) — Celebrating its 50th anniversary awarding recognition for Non-Equity theater, the Joseph Jefferson Awards announces its nominations for theater excellence among Non-Equity theater during the ...


Gay News

Comcast NBCUniversal partners with News is Out, Word In Black on fellowship program highlighting Black, LGBTQ+ issues 2024-02-06
--From a press release - Digital Equity Local Voices Lab Fellows to be placed at 16 local publications to receive training and create content Philadelphia (Feb. 6, 2024) — News is Out [ https://newsisout.com ] , a queer media collaborative of ...


Gay News

Mr. Chicago Leather contest returns to Touche following 2022 controversy 2024-02-01
- The Mr. Chicago Leather contest returned this past weekend, January 26-28, to Touché Chicago, over a year after numerous community members were incensed by a racist incident. But the bartender who quit Touché following the incident ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.