Chicago drag performer GiGi Mayonaé dies after accident with drunk driver

CHICAGO — Drag performer GiGi Mayonaé died this past weekend following a serious car accident with a drunk driver. CWBChicago reported on Saturday that Mayonaé’s car was hit head on while she was driving down Halsted in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood early Thursday morning. The website reported that the other driver, Gerrick Birt, 29, was charged Friday with felony DUI causing an accident with bodily harm, two counts of misdemeanor DUI and traffic violations, including failure to have insurance. He reportedly had a blood alcohol level of .253, almost three times the legal limit. CWBChicago and Chicago.GoPride both reported that as of Saturday, Mayonaé was still posting on social media, saying she would be having surgery for her pelvis, which was fractured in the accident.

Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says racist tweets ‘further divide us’

CHANNAHON — U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) called Trump’s recent racist tweets were wrong and divisive but also said “seeing countless media folks threaten over the ‘supposed’ silence” also contributed division. Kinzinger is the only member of the Illinois Congressional delegation’s GOP members to even object to Trump’s tweets. There has also been silence from the Illinois Republican Party and the Log Cabin Republicans of Illinois. Kinzinger put the statement out on his Facebook and Twitter profiles on Monday, more than a day after the tweets. 

Trump sent out a series of tweets saying Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashia Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), progressive Democratic representatives and members of “The Squad,” were really American and should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley were all born in the U.S. and Omar has been a citizen since she was 17 and has been in the country since she was 10. 

Trump has doubled down despite condemnation by Democrats and the media, with some token objections from the GOP. He’s even demand the four representatives apologize for “horrible & disgusting actions.”

Kinzinger said in the statement that “what the president tweeted this weekend was wrong, and does nothing but further divide us.

Transgender woman released after retaliation for suing Illinois for prison transfer

CHICAGO — Strawberry Hampton, who had to sue the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to be moved to a women’s prison, was released this week. Hampton was kept in prison five months after her release date. Hampton, a transgender woman, sued the IDOC in 2018 to be moved to a women’s prison after being the target of abuse from guards and other inmates. The Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) and the MacArthur Justice Center, which represented Hampton in her lawsuit and in her clemency effort, say that she was kept in prison beyond as retaliatory punishment for reporting sexual abuse. She was transferred to a women’s prison at the very end of 2018.

Wakandacon – Inclusive Afro-Futuristic Con on July 26-28

CHICAGO — Wakandacon, a African-Americnan focused fan convention started after the huge success of Black Panther last year, is returning on July 26. From the Facebook event:
The cultural phenomenon Wakandacon is back for 2019! Wakandacon is a 3 day family-friendly Afrofuturistic celebration that speaks directly to issues being faced within the Black diaspora, with a focus on art, community, technology and self-expression. The Chicago Sun-Times named Wakandacon as one of Chicago’s top entertainment stories of 2018! Wakandacon is for comic nerds, pop culture buffs, big thinkers, techies, creatives, storytellers, gamers, science geeks, dreamers, makers, movers, shakers and anyone contributing to the culture!

Action to End Criminalization, Detention, & Deportations being held this Saturday

CHICAGO — A coalition of civil rights, social justice and political action groups are holding a protest action this Saturday, July 13, at Daley Center Plaza in downtown Chicago. From the Facebook event:
On a daily basis, immigrant communities in Illinois live with the fear that imminent raids and escalated activity by ICE, as stated by Trump, will rip families apart. We see more information each day regarding deplorable situations at the border – where government officials deny there is a humanitarian crisis, where children are treated as less than human, and where more children have died in immigration custody in 2019 than in the past 10 years. In Illinois, we are taking a stand. We see the current criminalization of immigrants, those coming to our borders seeking asylum and those seeking a better life for themselves and their families, as a continuation of the United States’ deep history of exploiting and criminalizing immigrants.

Flyers promoting racist websites found on Chicago’s southwest side

CHICAGO — Flyers promoting racist websites have appeared on Chicago’s southwest side, WGN reported. The Chicago TV station said 19th Ward alderman Matt O’Shea was notified about the flyers on Tuesday morning. The ward covers Beverly, Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park on the far southwestern corner of the city. “Frustrated that cowards come into our community in the cover of darkness, and place this hate literally at our doorsteps looking to create strife, scare the people,” the alderman told WGN. The station said the flyers were put on hundreds of cars in the area.

Joliet holds first Pride

JOLIET — Joliet had it’s first Pride celebration last weekend, joining a growing list of Illinois communities celebrating Pride month. 

The festival was held at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park. Organizers said that police officers had estimated the crowd at about 1,800. 

Photos provided by Joliet Pride

Chicago transgender activist power couple are expecting

CHICAGO — Miles Brady Davis and Precious Davis have announced that they are expecting a child in Winter 2019. The Davises made the announcement on their Facebook pages Tuesday. Miles, who identifies as two-spirit and transmasculine, was named Director of Communications for Equality Illinois just the day before. Precious Davis, a queer biracial transgender woman of color, is also an activist and has worked with the Center on Halstead and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and currently works for the Sierra Club as a Regional Communication Manager. According to the Advocate, they were the first trans couple to be featured on TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress” when they got married a couple of years ago.

Alternative Catholic church to hold Pride Mass this weekend

PALATINE — An alternative Catholic style church is holding a Pride Mass this weekend. The Daily Herald reported that Agape Community of New Hope will host a service at 5 p.m. Saturday at Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist, 1025 N. Smith St. The church was co founded by Colin Collette after he was fired from as a music director at a Catholic church five years ago. He’d announced his engagement to a man. From the Daily Herald:

Mass will be celebrated by a member of the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests.