Diversity to hold fund-raiser Sept. 22

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Diversity of Rockford will hold a fund-raising event, “Forest City Pride,” from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22, at Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S. Main St. It will be an evening of fun, drinks and conversation.

Guest speaker will be Rick Garcia, known as Chicago’s most high-profile activist for sexual-minority rights. He has forged alliances with such organizations as Operation PUSH and with both Republicans and Democrats. In the late 1980s, Garcia was one of the “Gang of Four,” a group of activists who were instrumental in the struggle to pass a Chicago ordinance against sexual-orientation discrimination, enacted in 1988.

Later, Garcia and his colleagues turned their attention to a campaign for securing similar protection at the county level. In 1993, the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance was enacted. In 2005, Garcia led the effort to pass a statewide bill in Illinois banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Garcia was also a principal founder of Equality Illinois, the city’s and the state’s chief organizational voice for sexual-minority rights. He has served as the group’s public policy director and helped to develop local lobbying units throughout Illinois, met with legislators, and made many appearances in mass communications media as an advocate.

In cooperation with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Garcia was one of the founders of the national Equality Federation of statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organizations.

Diversity will also honor Dr. Scott Homan of Crusader Clinic, who provides valuable care to those living with HIV disease. Kortman’s Center for Design and two others to be announced the night of the event will be given the “Community Partner” Award.

Cost of the event is $40 per person. For reservations, contact Diversity at (815) 964-2639; original deadline Sept. 15, though some seats may be available after that date.

from the Sept. 19 – 25, 2007, issue

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