Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 25+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Windy City Times 2016-06-08
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Presenting Princess Shaw; Out of Iraq; Those People Presenting Princess Shaw; Out of Iraq; Those People
The Princess of YouTube There are Cinderella stories and then there's the ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

New Equality Illinois CEO to launch listening tour
by Matt Simonette
2016-06-08

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


By Matt Simonette

Brian Johnson, who, on June 1, took the reins as the new CEO of Equality Illinois, said that he was attracted to the position for two reasons.

"I felt this incredible gratitude for the right to get married," he said. "I just got married three weeks ago. I felt incredibly grateful for the leaders that came before me and led the fight that gave us this incredible opportunity. But on top of that, I was getting incredibly frustrated with the number of people I'd hear say things like 'mission accomplished' in terms of social justice. Particularly, I remember reading that when the Empire State Pride Agenda closed. They said, 'Mission accomplished.'"

Johnson was announced as the replacement for outgoing CEO Bernard Cherkasov at the end of April. Although he's been in Chicago for about a year and a half, Johnson was previously active in education and politics, primarily in California. He was executive director of Teach for America, then Larchmont Schools, a small public charter school network. He also ran for the California State Assembly in 2012, losing by only a handful of votes. He was most recently vice-president of regional impact for Leadership for Educational Impact, a nonprofit building leadership among Teach for America teachers.

"To me this work is about how issues of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, schools and communities all can intersect. And personally, the opportunity for me to lead with my full identity as a gay man and as part of as part of an LGBTQ advocacy organization is exciting," he said.

His first order of business in the new job is a listening tour across the state, he said.

"I want to make sure that we are listening to people in the full diversity of our community," Johnson said. "But I also want to make sure that we have the door open to people in intersecting communities—young people, people of color, people in all income-streams. Finally, I just want to make sure that we are talking to people across the entire state—that is important to us."

He added that the organization would soon be at work on its next strategic plan: "We really need to listen to our stakeholders and constituents, champions and allies. And I think, with me being new, it gives me the chance to go out and build relationships."

Getting input from community stakeholders, he said, was a skill he built up while running for office.

"That really forced me to understand what it meant to go out into the community and understand a community, to ask people, 'Where are you hurting? What are your fears?'" Johnson said. "That process will serve us well at Equality Illinois. When I was a candidate, I personally knocked on 4,000 doors and called 2,500 voters. That process of sitting down and listening to people, trying to truly understand their hopes and fears, will serve us well."

He added that he was distressed by the number of religious freedom bills coming down the pike in many states across the country. "We had the risk of people taking their foot off the gas [after marriage equality was settled], but there are so many other issues. If you are a transgendered youth, a low-income lesbian of color, or an elderly gay man relying on social services, marriage is great, but there are so many more fights that need to happen."

Equality Illinois will soon begin work on itsr next strategic plan to carry it up until about 2020, Johnson added, noting that many of the organization's future goals depend on what he and his colleagues hear on their tour in the weeks ahead.

"I do know that there are injustices that are going on across this state," he said. "It is worrying to me about the level of endangerment and stigmatization of transgender Illinoisans face. It concerns that we still have a gay panic defense as a permissible defense to violent crimes and murder. It concerns me that not all of our LGBT youth are fully safe and accepted at schools. It concerns me that we haven't fully made sure that all of our documentation, birth certificates and records aren't fully aligned to an individual's gender identity. These things concern me, but what issues boil to the top will depend on what people are saying on the ground."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Illinois General Assembly passes LGBT pension bill 2016-05-31
Windy City Times publishes LGBT Visitor's Guide to Chicago and Illinois 2016-05-26
Illinois state GOP: Marriage is still one-man, one-woman 2016-05-23
Mexico's Wild Ride to Marriage Equality 2016-05-18
U.S. Reps. Cicilline, Schakowsky open EqualityCon 2016 2016-05-17
EqualityCon panel addresses trans issues, budget impasse 2016-05-17
Equality Illinois names new CEO 2016-04-25
Children's Museum marks Family Equality Day 2016-04-14
HRC, Equality North Carolina ask Gov. McCrory, legislative leaders for H.B. 2 records 2016-04-14
Out & Equal promotes workplace equality 2016-04-13
Women's Equality Nat'l Monument created, President speaks there on Equal Pay Day 2016-04-12
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance head to step down 2016-04-06
Illinois Freemason head opposes gay bans 2016-04-01
Cherkasov to depart Equality Illinois this week 2016-03-30
LETTERS Open letter to trans community from National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) 2016-03-30
Trans-related bills advance to Illinois House committee 2016-03-28
Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center named LGBT Healthcare Equality leader 2016-03-23
Sixty companies launch business coalition for the Equality Act 2016-03-11
Illinois state reps divided over trans issues 2016-03-09
ELECTIONS 2016: Illinois House races hinge on ending Springfield inaction 2016-03-09
Task Force marks International Women's Day, joining UN call for gender equality 2016-03-08
Illinois LGBT Sanders endorser list released 2016-03-07
Hillary Clinton gets backing from some Illinois LGBTs 2016-03-04
Debate Recap: Kasich, Cruz and Trump double down on overturning marriage equality 2016-03-04
AFC stages die-in at Illinois Statehouse 2016-02-22
Raggedy And to benefit The Legacy Project and Illinois Safe School Alliance 2016-02-22
Polling: Majority of Americans support a bill like the Equality Act 2016-02-18
Illinois poverty report released 2016-02-17
Equality Illinois PAC issues second round of endorsements 2016-02-16
Harris files trans-related birth certificate bill in Illinois House 2016-02-11
Equality Illinois holds pre-gala event 2016-02-10
Equality Illinois to host Financial Education Fair 2016-02-09
Equality Illinois PAC issues first round of endorsements 2016-02-08
Pelosi joins Equality Illinois in anniversary celebration 2016-02-07
TPP signing undercuts U.S. commitment to LGBTQ equality, HIV/AIDS fight 2016-02-04
HRC releases state equality index 2016-02-03
Illinois families say state of state weak, cite failure to pass responsible budget 2016-01-27
Pritzker chairing Equality Illinois gala 2016-01-27
Cherkasov stepping down from Equality Illinois 2016-01-21
Suburban legislator files Illinois restroom access bill 2016-01-20





Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

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 Transegender 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.

 

 

 



 

CDPH receives $3 million grant for HIV prevention and care
 
City Council committee votes to advance trans measure
 
THEATER REVIEW: Caught
 
UNESCO report looks at anti-LGBT violence in education
 
BOOKS Alida Brill talks feminism, Friedan
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.