Equality Illinois expands with new offices in central Illinois, west suburb

Equality Illinois Chicago office. Photo: Google.

Equality Illinois, a Chicago-based LGBT rights advocacy group, announced the opening of two satellite offices Monday that will expand its reach for grassroots-level work on behalf of the LGBT community.

The organization did not provide the specific locations of the two new offices, but said they are in central Illinois and in a west suburb, two key areas of its statewide operations, according to a media release.

“The movement for equal and fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans by necessity must be a statewide struggle. The experiences and voices of residents outside of Chicago need to be heard and shared with their local and state officials,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois in the release. “From our headquarters in Chicago, we have always been committed to representing the needs of the LGBT population in the whole state. Yet our reach has been somewhat limited simply by geography.”

The west suburban office will be responsible for outreach and lobbying efforts in the Chicago collar counties and northern Illinois, while the downstate office is meant for much of the same, but in areas farther south of the city. The goal of the expansion is to respond to local issues, build coalitions and grow support for LGBT rights.

Equality Illinois policy employees will make frequent stops to offices across the state and organizers in each of the offices will report to the group’s Director of Field Programs Caroline Staerk.

“This addition of two field offices will help empower LGBT communities outside of Chicago,” Cherkasov said.