"The most surprising question people ask me: 'Do I think I am going to die?'" says Chicago-based YouTube hotness, HIV/AIDS activist and celebrated vlogger Ken Like Barbie in an emotional new video. Watch and listen to his honest reply AFTER THE JUMP ...
A "spectacular" holiday weekend for Olympic gold medalist speedskater Shani Davis. The Chicago speedskating hotness won his third straight 1000m event to start the World Cup season. The latest win was Saturday at the Astana World Cup in the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, reports NBC Sports.
The four-time Olympic medalist Davis took a 1000m in 1 minute, 8.66 seconds, beating surprise Italian Mirko Giacomo Nenzi by .24 of a second. ... Davis was fifth in the 1500m on Friday after taking second and first at the first two 1500m races of the season in Calgary, Alberta, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Brittany Bowe took gold in the women's competition in Astana.
Davis ended a 15-race winning streak at the World Cup in December 2010. Let's see if he can break record this season.
Light posting this week. I'm traveling to Dallas and returning to Chicago for two important conferences on gay men's health.
Catching a flight to Dallas this afternoon for a 2-day trip to the 2013 NASTAD National Stigma Summit on Black and Latino Gay Men’s Health. The conference is sponsored by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and will bring together health departments, funders, policy makers, advocate and stakeholders "for a dynamic dialogue centered on stigma that impacts Black and Latino gay men’s health." I've been asked to moderate a session stigma and bias against Black and Latino gay/bisexual men in the media.
There is also a Twitter Town Hall on Thursday evening at 630P/CT. Follow @NASTAD and use the hashtag #HIVstigma.
Tonight, I applaud the men and women of the Illinois General Assembly, a body in which I was proud to serve, for voting to legalize marriage equality in my home state.
As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else. So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.
I also commend the members of the General Assembly for approaching this issue in a fair and open way, and for recognizing the importance of our commitment to religious freedom by engaging the religious community in this conversation. Throughout this debate, they’ve made it clear that this is about civil marriages and civil laws, and made sure that churches and other institutions of faith are still free to make their own decisions that conform to their own teachings.
As I said in my Inaugural Address last January, our journey as a nation is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And tonight, I’m so proud that the men and women elected to serve the people of the great state of Illinois have chosen to take us one step further on that journey to perfect our union.
President Obama has previously spoken out for the bill and urged Illinois legislators to vote "yes."
The successful vote for equal marriage in Illinois comes during an historic week for LGBT rights. The Senate advanced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Monday by a 61-30 cloture vote. That clears the way for a final up-or-down vote later this week. Meanwhile: The Hawaii House of Representatives is holding hearings on its marriage bill. The Senate passed its version of the bill last week.
An historic day as the Illinois General Assembly approves marriage equality. Illinois has become the second state after Iowa to approve equal marriage in the nation's heartland. The state House narrowly approved the measure by a 61 to 54 vote with two voting present, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
The amended bill then went back to the Senate, which passed it 32 to 21 shortly after 5 p.m... Because [Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg] Harris changed the bill’s effective date on Tuesday to June 1, the measure needed only 60 votes – instead of 71 – to pass the House. It now must go back to the Senate for a final sign-off before moving on to the governor, who praised lawmakers for breaking the impasse on an issue that was near the top of his legislative priority list.
Harris also amended his legislation to give greater safeguards to private clubs, so they don’t have to sanction same-sex marriages. That was recognized as a nod to Catholic lawmakers concerned that organizations like the Knights of Columbus would be compelled to open their facilities to same-sex wedding receptions.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill as soon as tonight. The new law will become effective in June 2014.
Fourteen states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New JerseNew York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage. Illiniois becomes the 15th state. Several counties in New Mexico and six Native American tribal jurisdictions also allow same-sex marriage.
The artist's "Electric Lady Tour" touched down last night at Chicago's Viv Theater. Janelle Monáe never ceases to amaze and last night was not an exception. It was an amazing show. The Grammy Award-nominated Monáe's energy was almost literally electric as she performed stage and in the crowd.
Watch videos of "Prime Time"—without Miguel, sorry!—and "Dance Apocalyptic" AFTER THE JUMP ...
Only 29 percent of the teaching force in Chicago is African American,
compared to 45 percent in 1995, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.
At least "43 percent of those [teachers] laid off," have been Black
according to a 2011 analysis of Illinois State Board of Education data
reported by In These Times.
"We have seen a huge downward trend in the number of Black teachers at
CPS. It is a very serious problem,” Chicago Teachers Union President
Karen Lewis tells EBONY.com. "Entire faculties are fired and must reapply for positions in
turnarounds. These situations have been extremely
challenging on Black middle-aged faculty members who often have advanced
degrees and seniority."
Chicago Public Schools has issued a call for new charter schools only months after what has been described as "the largest shakeup ever attempted in one year by a major urban school district." The nation’s third-largest school district has closed 50 schools in a restructuring that affected an estimated 46,000 children—most of whom were Black.
The charters would be located in largely white and Latino neighborhoods.
The school closures that the district approved in May were described
as largely "poorly performing schools in African-American neighborhoods
on the South and West sides where enrollment has sagged in recent
years," reported the Chicago Tribune.
"This is definitely a race and class issue. We [did] not see these
closures in communities that are not Black," Wanda Hopkins, education
coordinator of the South Austin Coalition Community Council, told
EBONY.com. The Austin neighborhood on the city’s West Side was among "the communities that [experienced] the most closings," reported Catalyst,
the city’s well-respected journal on urban education. Austin is also
among the city’s "most violent neighborhoods" and hard-hit by gangs and
"Our children have been suffering for decades. If we had a $1 billion deficit, where [did] they get the money to do this?"
Judith C. Rice is an attorney and lifelong Chicagoan with a gold-plated resume. Rice was treasurer for the City of Chicago from 2000 to 2006, was "the first female commissioner of both the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Water" and was director of the city's Department of Revenue.
She is currently the senior vice president and head of community affairs & economic development for BMO Harris Bank.
Judy Rice has been active in the city's LGBT community for 30 years and has officially come out as lesbian in an interview with Kate Sosin at Windy City Times. Rice is running for judge in the Cook County Circuit Court 7th Subcircuit. If elected, she would become one of the more high profile openly LGBT elected officials in the city.
WCT: You have strong ties in the community. Did you feel pressure from the community to come out over the years?
JR: I think that people have always known who I am, the people who know me. I've never hidden who I am from people who know me. I wouldn't say it's any pressure. It's me feeling that it's important that we raise our hands at this point in time because people need to understand that LGBT are around them everywhere in the community. Maybe they're doctors, maybe they're lawyers, maybe they're sons, maybe they're daughters. So, the more than we can show that, the better it is going to be for our community.
WCT: Could you have imagined 30 years ago when you started attending Pride that it would be possible to run as an out candidate for judge?
JR: I could not imagine at all. I was a scared, young person to be out on the street and be physically identified. So, look at the change that we have had and that we've come to through the work of many people who are a lot more brave and a lot stronger than I ever have been.
Rice also discusses the need to make the court system more responsive towards transgender men and women,
[W]e see a lot of them. Everywhere that you go, you're asked to identify yourself. So one problem and one issue those would bring for individuals who are transitioning or have transitioned are in the workplace. Are they going to be accepted? Are they going to be able to be terminated from their jobs because they're transitioning? So those are the types of issues that we have to make sure people are safe, that they have their civil rights.
It's a very moving interview
and well worth the ten minute read. Brava to Judy Rice for making this
announcement. She is a wonderful leader and a superb administrator.
This is brilliant. Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and award-winning choreographer Kyle Abraham are among the 24 winners of 2013 MacArthur Fellows. These so-called “genius” grants from the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation come with a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 paid over five years.
"This year’s class includes five visionary artists and scholars of color," notes ColorLines. "Photographer Carrie Mae Weems, playwright Tarell McCraney, choreographer Kyle Abraham, musician Vijay Iyer, and researcher Angela Duckworth have been named among this year’s winners."
The 32-year-old McCraney has sometimes been described as the "heir" to August Wilson's legacy. McCraney is a Miami native and graduated from Yale '07 MFA. The wunderkind dramatist became one of the first winners
of Yale University's new Windham Campbell Prize earlier. That award has
a $150,000 cash tag and has been described as "one of the largest
literary prizes in the world."
McCraney is best known for his acclaimed trilogyThe Brother/Sister Plays. Other works include Wig Out!, American TradeandChoir Boy. The latter made its London debut
in September 2012 and explores the competing roles of religion, Black
cultural identity and sexual repression at a fictional African-American
prep school. McCraney—who is openly gay—has been a member of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theater Company ensemble since 2010.
The 36-year-old Kyle Abraham has been awarded a Bessie Award and a Princess Grace Award for choreography. Abraham established his company Abraham.In.Motion in 2006 after having worked with Bill T. Jones, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and many others.
The Pittsburgh native has created a number of critically-acclaimed recent works including The Radio Show, Op. 1, Live! The Realest MC, and Pavement. A Ramp to Paradise. Live! The Realest MCexplores "what it means to be Black and gay in the context of hip hop culture" and has been performed across the country. Pavement. A Ramp to Paradise describes the history of the iconic Black gay dance club the Paradise Garage.
Bravo and many congratulations to all of the winners. Watch Kyle Abraham and Tarell Alvin McCraney's introductory videos for the MacArthur Foundation AFTER THE JUMP ...