This year’s Equality Illinois Annual Gala was held at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago.
Equality Illinois is the largest civil rights organization in Illinois securing and protecting LBGT individuals.
The Equality Illinois 2014 Gala, the Freedom Award Night, with 1400 guests, is the largest formal LBGT event in the Midwest.
Bernard Cherkasov: “Tonight, the evening is the opportunity for us to celebrate all of the accomplishments together as a movement, for decades now, people have fought to recognize that not to get fired from their jobs, not to bully in schools, their relationships with love recognized by the state. We have accomplished so much of that, and today it is our chance to recognize the accomplishment to honor our heroes and leaders, and we recommend them to move forward.”
美国政治人物Mark Kirk和著名导演Lana Wachowski也会聚集在此。
The US senate Mark Kirk from Illinois and the famous filmmaker Lana Wachowski will be here receiving the Freedom Award.
Lana Wachowski: “中国朋友们，你们好！我爱北京！我今晚在这里跟大家共同庆祝我们伊州终于通过了同性合法婚姻法案SB10！我希望中国政府也可以把心放宽，打破传统旧观念，让更多的人拥有自由权利。今晚有人会为我颁奖？自由奖项？但我不确定那个到底是什么东西，哈哈！”
Hello China, I love Beijing! I am here to celebrate with all the LGBTQ community, celebrating passing the SB10, which is basically the gay marriage act in Illinois. I hope that China continues to open up and embrace the things that are different than what they are traditionally used to. I am getting an award tonight. The Freedom Award? I am not exactly sure what it is.
Lana’s humorous and interaction certainly impressed many audiences that night. So what do the guests think about her “coming out” story?
Fawz Mirza: “我觉得每个人的‘出柜’过程都很特别，而且就连‘出柜’这个生动的词组都让每个人变得那样的丰富有趣。因此无论是听Lana的出柜事件，还是其他人的，我都很喜欢听。我觉得跟大家分享自己出柜的事情需要很大的勇气。当然，像Lana这样一位公众人物可以做此公开并可以帮助更多人的话，我觉得那是件非常美好的事情。”
Fawz Mirza: “I think anyone coming out is such a unique process, and I think that even the phrase “coming out” is so individual to each person, and so hearing anyone’s story, weather is hers or someone else’s, every other person here that thousands of people here tonight, I love hearing those stories, and I think sharing them takes so much strength, takes so much courage, and put yourself out there as someone who wants to share the stories and to help somebody else takes a lot of courage. It is a beautiful thing.”
The event annually attracts an influential audience of notable political, corporate, and community leaders, including Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, Dorothy Brown: “It’s important that we have a tolerance for each other. Of course, as a minority, as an African American, I understand the discrimination. So I support all people. ”
During the awards night, both of Chicago Urban League and State Farm also won the Freedom Awards. A festive silent auction precedes the dinner.
Also, there was wonderful food and interesting guests at this event.
Well, we just like to make a statement on how we dress. I think that we are here to celebrating and I think it is important to celebrate. So I will just say, to the Chinese community to keep working for their rights, and also freedoms and the moments to celebrate. So keep fighting fights, but also remember to enjoy what you have.
This is Meiling Jin reporting for you.