Aurora approves creating LGBTQ Advisory Board – Chicago Tribune

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In the early 1990s, the Aurora City Council voted on a proposed human rights ordinance that included in it a ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

It got one vote in favor, nine against, and failed.

Ald. Michael Saville, 6th Ward, noted this week that he was the one vote in favor. He also noted how different things are today, as the City Council unanimously voted to create an LGBTQ Advisory Board, a group that will take its place among the city’s other board’s that advise on council policies.

Aurora Ald. Michael Saville, 6th Ward.
(Mike Saville / Handout)

The vote came during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

“How proud I am of the community; we’ve come a long way,” said Saville, just before the vote. “It shows we are one Aurora.”

Mayor Richard Irvin also made that notation, a nod to what has been the mayor’s longtime campaign slogan, and to what he said has been his administration’s commitment to strengthening “equity and diversity.”

“The goal is to be transformative,” he said. “This is so (LGBTQ) members have a stronger voice at the table.”

Establishment of the board also got another endorsement from Adam Pauley, a college student who was once a member of the city’s Youth Advisory Committee, which also was established under the Irvin administration.

Pauley was instrumental in the drive to establish the LGBTQ Advisory Board, and was honored earlier this summer by the city when it held a flag-raising for the Pride flag at One Aurora Plaza downtown.

Pauley told City Council members before the vote that the city is “on the threshold of a new beginning.”

“Aurora will be a shining example,” he said.

The new advisory board will be specifically under the Community Affairs Department, and the city staff liaison will be the equity and inclusion officer.

City officials said in creating the board, they looked at similar boards throughout the Midwest.

The format, mission and goals of the board will align with other current city boards, commissions and councils.

According to a memo from the Mayor’s Office, the advisory body will organize, support and promote events recognizing June as Pride Month in Aurora; encourage the education, advocacy and community involvement of the city’s LGBTQ youth; and help promote greater awareness and cross-cultural understanding.

The group will also serve as an advisory body to the City Council regarding issues potentially affecting the LGBTQ community, according to the memo, and recommend to the City Council measures designed to enhance the health, safety and economic opportunities of the LGBTQ community.

It will also coordinate and participate in educational programs to promote equal treatment and opportunity for the LGBTQ community and work with other city boards, commissions and councils to address areas of common interest and concern, officials said.

slord@tribpub.com

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September 16, 2022 at 07:33AM

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