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Celebration, community, and next steps for LGBTQ civil rights to mark 2019 Equality Illinois Gala

CHICAGO – Equality Illinois with presenting sponsor United Airlines will present its annual gala on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at the Hilton Chicago. More than 1,500 attendees are set to hear about the successes and ongoing challenges of building a stronger Illinois in the face of national headwinds against LGBTQ civil rights.

“The Gala is an opportunity for LGBTQ and allied Illinoisans to celebrate our historic wins and for Equality Illinois to share our vision for a more inclusive and affirming Illinois” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. The Gala serves as the single-largest fundraising event for the Equality Illinois Institute, and fuels the ongoing educational and outreach work for LGBTQ equality throughout the state of Illinois.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and more than 50 other elected officials and candidates will be introduced. Plus, VIP community members, dignitaries, and allied supporters plan to attend the Gala, which is the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ formal celebration. Some of the world’s most recognizable corporate and brand names are among the sponsors of the event, including presenting sponsor United Airlines.

This year’s Gala is chaired by attorney and community leader Nabeela Rasheed. Rasheed is a longstanding and passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion, and freedom across Chicagoland.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, a leading openly gay elected official and rising national star among Democrats, will be the Gala’s keynote speaker.

Each year at the Gala, Equality Illinois honors champions and organizations who demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality and inclusion of LGBTQ individuals. This year, the Equality Illinois Organization Leadership Award will be presented to the Illinois AFL-CIO. The Equality Illinois Freedom Award will be presented to Trans advocate and activist Channyn Lynne Parker and Breakthru Beverage Vice Chairman Danny Wirtz.

In addition to Gov. Pritzker, who will offer brief remarks to lead off the Gala, other public officials who to attend include U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley, Robin Kelly, and Brad Schneider, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, and many other state legislators, county commissioners, aldermen, judges, and candidates.

Press release from Equality Illinois

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