Down Route 66: Our first reader support campaign

We are launching our first reader support campaign!

This year’s Pride is different from others in recent years. We’ve seen homophobia, transphobia and hatred showing up across the country in new laws, and even in our own state in Galesburg, Springfield, and Clinton. To throw a party can feel wrong when we’re under attack.

But Pride was born in battle. In defiance. So while some still try to tear us down, we are coming together and staying loud. Communities like Petersburg, Jacksonville, and Danville held their first Prides in the face of homophobic rhetoric. The LGBTQ community has said “no” to those who come after us. True allies keep standing with us. It’s hard, but we are still here and still thriving.

Tom Wray, editor and founder

The Illinois Eagle has been covering and documenting it all. We are a community newspaper, for the community. We want to be a forum and a voice. For all of it. From drag shows in Springfield, to gender-affirming care in rural areas, to legislation at the state capitol.

I started the Eagle to be that forum and voice for LGBTQ folks living outside the big cities in our state. I want to follow in the footsteps of the Prairie Flame, the original LGBTQ newspaper for Central Illinois. It stood up and spoke when it was just as dangerous. And it’s a torch that needs to be carried again. I want us to remind people that we are still here. And that we are not going anywhere.

I have a love of journalism and a drive to activism. I’ve been working in some kind of media since I was 18 and have been an activist about as long, starting in college. The Eagle is how I combine the two. It’s how I can contribute to building the community and use my skills to raise all of our voices.

While I started the Eagle, it is not mine alone. It belongs to all of us. Most of the stories we publish come from you, our readers. Part of what keeps me going is hearing from you at events and festivals when you thank me for doing what I honestly think is simply my job!

In a year where Pride means more than just a party, and it is also a shout of defiance, the Illinois Eagle needs your support to keep our voice loud.

Will you join us?

I hate to ask for money. I’ve been poor, to the point where my husband and I were couch surfing on different couches in different houses. I know times are tough and people don’t have a lot to spare. If you don’t have the bandwidth to contribute, that’s fine. The Eagle will always remain free and accessible to everyone.

But if you have the means, we can use any support you can give. Money donated will go right back into keeping the Eagle strong and serving the community. Financial support from readers will pay for our writers and photographers to keep writing great stories and taking amazing photos. It will pay for the digital services that keep the website live. It will pay for everything the Eagle brings to festivals and events. And your generosity will help ensure that we have a base of operations to keep serving you, our community.

Support the Eagle today.

Again, if you don’t have the means to donate, don’t worry about it. Sharing this letter or telling people about the great story you read on the Eagle is just as vital. Most of our new readers come from people just sharing our content. You are our best advertisement.

If you can donate, please do, and know that every little bit helps. If every reader donated just ten dollars each month, we could commit to working on the Eagle full-time, without the need for side jobs. And if you want to give more… we’re not gonna say no.

The Eagle is a labor of love. Our journalism is what we can do to help the LGBTQ community across Illinois, and it is an honor when we find out that we have made a positive difference through our reporting. Help us keep making that difference.

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