The Legacy Project will be hosting a luncheon at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton on October 25, 2011 to commemorate Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) History Month and launch the one-year drive to the permanent exhibit’s installation which will take place on October 11, 2012, “National Coming Out Day.”
The names of the first 36 inductees will be announced at the luncheon, which will feature celebrated activist Cleve Jones, creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Jones is coming to Chicago to talk about THE LEGACY WALK’s significance and its nation-wide implications for advancing the discussion of why GLBT people have been selectively edited or removed entirely from nearly every textbook in use today.
In recognition of GLBT History Month, The Legacy Project – a Chicago-based Illinois non-profit corporation – announces the creation of an outdoor “walking museum” dedicated to celebrating the contributions made by GLBT people to world history and culture. To be located in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, THE LEGACY WALK will showcase an extensive series of bronze plaques affixed to the “Rainbow Pylons” which designate Northalsted Street as the nexus of Chicago’s GLBT community. Each plaque will bear an image cast likeness of an inductee along with a 300-word paragraph summarizing their life and contributions. The nominees, which can be found on the organization’s website (www.legacyprojectchicago.org) hail from 33 countries and represent 22 different fields of contribution. They come from every walk of life and span over four millennia. Upon its dedication THE LEGACY WALK will be the only exhibit of its kind in the world.
THE LEGACY WALK has been endorsed by several dozen historians, community-activists, business leaders, educators, and elected officials – including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn. It has been embraced by Illinois Safe Schools, the Prevent School Violence/Illinois alliance and numerous GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) High School Advisors – all of whom recognize the struggles of GLBT youth who grow up in cultural isolation because all GLBT role models have been redacted in one way or another from history.
A lack of awareness that GLBT people have contributed substantially to the world is believed to be directly linked to the climate in which anti-gay bullying – and GLBT youth suicide – flourishes. THE LEGACY WALK was conceived to confront public ignorance directly through positive messages about extraordinary people like Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science whose work to break the Nazi “Enigma Code” brought down Adolf Hitler; Bayard Rustin, Dr. Martin Luther King’s speechwriter who was not permitted on the stage of the 1963 March on Washington which he organized; and Dr. Margaret Chung, patriotic icon of World War II whose celebrated legacy -unrivaled in modern times – was swept away because it was revealed after her death that she was a lesbian.
If you are planning a trip to Chicago, make sure you stop by THE LEGACY WALK for reflection, peace and GLBT cultural understanding.