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City of Chicago Hall of Fame inducts 13 people

Friday, November 13, 2009

City of Chicago Hall of Fame inducts 13 people

The City of Chicago, which hosts the only known government-backed Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in the world, held its 19th annual induction ceremony Nov. 12 at the Cultural Center.

Mayor Richard Daley, who has attended almost every induction event, was in good spirits as he spoke to the crowd about the importance of the LGBT community to the overall city of Chicago, as well as the need for LGBT civil rights and marriage. Commission on Human Relations Chairman Dana Starks spoke primarily against the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, with the Hall of Fame coming the day after Veteran's Day.

Hundreds of Chicagoans packed the standing-room-only ceremony, which included 11 LGBTs, two allies and one community group, AIDS Foundation of Chicago. The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus performed, and C.C. Carter and William B. Kelley announced the honorees. Gary Chichester said the event was dedicated to two past Hall of Famers who died this year, Tony Midnite and Bob Maddox.

The range of inductees this year was vast, from 83-year-old Frank Robinson, a former speechwriter for Harvey Milk, to youth activist and filmmaker Zaida Sanabia, 24.

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues oversees the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.

Individuals honored this year are: Paula Basta, 53, for her long-term work in improving the lives of senior citizens, especially LGBT senior citizens, and promoting women's and LGBT rights.

Lou Conte, 67, for the legacy he has created through the Lou Conte Dance Studio and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, both of which continue to contribute to the arts and culture community in Chicago and beyond.

Lori A. Cooper, 42, a Chicago police sergeant, for her focus on LGBT issues, which has led to significant policy changes within the Police Department, especially the creation of the LGBT liaison position, which continues to serve a vital function for the LGBT community. {She was unable to attend the ceremony, so her partner accepted. ]

Marcia J. Lipetz, Ph.D., 62, for her long history of leadership, energy, passion, and vision for Chicago's LGBT community and the institutions affiliated with it, especially for her work with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the WPWR-TV Channel 50 Foundation, and Center on Halsted.

Amy Maggio, 60, for her leadership in LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues, including her experience in development, marketing, and public relations for organizations in both the non-profit and private sectors.

Joey McDonald, 54, for his strong commitment to improving the quality of life for members of Chicago's LGBT communities, particularly his work with people living with HIV/AIDS, his leadership in the recovery community, his mentorship in the leather community, and his advocacy for LGBT equality,

Frank M. Robinson, 83, journalist, novelist, and award-winning science fiction writer, for creating the gay and lesbian community tabloid newspapers that catalyzed the emergence of the gay press in Chicago, and also for his service as speech writer for gay activist and politician Harvey Milk.

Jane M. Hussein Saks, 47, social and political activist, cultural advocate, and leader, for challenging and championing issues of gender, sexuality, race, and power within the worlds of arts and culture, politics and civil rights, academia, and philanthropy.

Zaida Sanabia, 24, filmmaker and activist, for founding "Amiguitas," the first queer Latina youth group in Chicago and for documenting the struggles of starting a gay-straight alliance in her high school in her film "A Fish Almost Eaten by a Shark," which has been screened nationwide to educate and train school administrators on creating safe schools for LGBT youth.

Patrick Sinozich, 50, for enriching Chicago's LGBT communities through the gifts of song, dance, and entertainment by his involvement with and direction of the Windy City Gay Chorus and the current Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.

Jorge Valdivia, 34, for creating safe spaces and building visibility for the Latino LGBT community through media, arts, and public service, and particularly for founding Homofrecuencia, the nation's first Spanish-language radio program focusing on LGBT issues.


AIDS Foundation of Chicago, for 24 years of helping to lead the fight against HIV/AIDS by promoting cooperation among service providers at work across Chicago's various communities, making more than $18 million in grants to agencies coping with AIDS in those communities, aiding the housing needs of persons with HIV/AIDS, and advocating for sound government HIV/AIDS policy.

Friends of the Community

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley ( D-Chicago ) , for supporting sexual-minority rights as a City Council legislative aide and Cook County Board commissioner, and now as a member of Congress, where he has joined the LGBT caucus and backs the movement to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, as well as supporting efforts to end employment discrimination and achieve other LGBT justice goals.

Marilyn Urso, R.N., for her service from 1990 to 2007 as research registered nurse for the Howard Brown Health Center's Multi-Site AIDS Cohort Study ( MACS ) , the world's largest epidemiological study on sexual practices and how they relate to the transmission of HIV, where she furnished warm, welcoming support to the participants and other important services on- and off-site, becoming what some clients called their "second mother."

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