The Oak Park Area Gay and Lesbian Association+ recently canvassed Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and Galewood, conducting a “census” of pride flags and pride displays. Thirty volunteers photographed over 200 homes that visibly shared their pride with our diverse community. Thank you to all for showing your support of your LGBTQ friends and family members.

Established in 1989, OPALGA is one of the largest LGBTQ membership organizations in Illinois to promote full equality for, and positive attitudes toward, the LGBTQ community. 

Since our founding we have accomplished a great deal: 

worked to amend Oak Park’s Human Rights Ordinance to bar employment and housing discrimination (1989), 

helped secure Domestic Partnership benefits for Oak Park village employees (1994), 

fought to secure Oak Park’s Domestic Partnership Registry for same-sex couples — a first-ever achievement in Illinois, and since used as a model for other communities (1997), 

collaborated to educate local school administrators to establish a Human Dignity policy for LGBTQ school employees (1999), 

served as a Gay Games VII sponsor and hosted events in Oak Park (2006), 

rallied locally and in Springfield for the passage of Civil Unions and Marriage Equality in Illinois (2013) and travelled to Springfield to advocate for inclusion of LGBTQ history in school curriculum (2018). 

In the past seven years, we have awarded more than $90,000 in scholarship funds for LGBTQ and allied students.

As a regular participant making donuts at the Farmers Market, volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, marching in River Forest’s Memorial Day Parade and Oak Park’s Fourth of July Parade, and providing public education and resources at Day in Our Village, we are an integral part of the villages we all call home.

As such, it was with disbelief and sadness that we heard reports of pride flags stolen or vandalized on Harvey, Mapleton and other streets in Oak Park. This tells us all that our work is not done. We will continue to advocate for the equal treatment of all. We expect that next year the number of flags displayed proudly in our community will double in numbers. We are counting on you to stand with us and be proud of our diverse community.

Kendall Alexander, Brian Bollenbacher, Marsha Borders, Jim Gibson, Jan Grillos, Rylan Martin, Bob Personett, Greg Raub, Alisa Ray, Kelly Soprych, Tim Silver, Roger Wilson

OPALGA Board of Directors

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