Civic Engagement

Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus works to improve quality of life among Black gay, bisexual, and same sex gender men through collective, political action.

Systems change and structural-level movement are required to improve healthcare service to Black gay men, protect our community from discriminatory practices, and safeguard safety net policies that ensure access to quality healthcare. Therefore, we focus on a variety of legislative and policy issues, including:

  • Routine opt-out HIV testing and implementation
  • Medically accurate comprehensive sex ed and implementation
  • Health care reform
  • Dedicated HIV/AIDS and identity-based funding
  • Decriminalization of HIV
  • Harm reduction in correctional settings (including condom distribution)
  • State budget and fiscal crisis
  • Medicaid hiv drug formulary

We initiate collective action using three overlapping organizing strategies.

 

Leadership development and skill-building

We build upon the strengths of our community and allies, by deepening their knowledge of how political activity affects their daily lives and health. We host trainings and release statements to educate our constituency and lay the foundation for their future action.

 

Grassroots organizing and mobilization

We promote a variety of advocacy tactics under the banner of “Get In Where You Fit In,” motivating our community members to take action where it makes the most sense to them. This spans reading and sharing our advocacy alerts to joining us in constituency visits.

Every Spring, we lead teams within a statewide delegation of HIV/AIDS advocates that visit our state capitol and share with our legislators the importance of state-funded health services such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Our individual, personal testimonies illustrate the impact of HIV/AIDS in their districts.

We’ve run voter registration campaigns where we set-up at select nightclubs, Pride events, our LoveFest health festival, and other venues that see significant numbers of Black gay, bisexual, and same gender loving men. Where possible we aligned our campaign with initiatives such as “Rock the Vote!” and “Vote Naked.”

 

Partnerships and coalition-work

Our focus on the local political landscape, led us to join 30 LGBT organizations in Chicago to host the city’s first LGBT Mayoral Candidates Forum to address the community-wide issues such as education, HIV/AIDS, youth homelessness, workplace discrimination, identity documentation, and public safety. In addition we hosted as series of informal mayoral Meet & Greets to facilitate a dialogue to educate Black MSM voters regarding candidates’ positions on relevant issues specific to our community, as well as an opportunity for candidates to discuss the impact of their proposed initiatives on our community. Recently, we attended a Mayoral Roundtable on Issues Facing LGBTQ People of Color

While we work to educate public officials on the issues of that affect our community and urge them to use their offices to enact positive change, we enjoy steady relationships with Illinois Black Caucus members. The results include partnerships on innovative legislation, such as creation of the country’s first instant lottery ticket where 100% of proceeds support HIV/AIDS services (Red Ribbon Cash).

Furthermore, we add our expertise and perspective to various bodies as they develop their advocacy priorities, such as Equality Illinois’s community advisory board and AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s service provider council. In 2013, we were one of many LGBTQ organizations that joined with Illinois Unites to support the stateside passage of marriage equality.

 

Interested joining our advocacy efforts?

Connect With Us