We All Stand On the Shoulders Of Those Who Came Before…

I’m really enjoying my volunteer work bringing attention to the issue of LGBTQ persecution in the world, and specifically, what obstacles and issues face those seeking political asylum in the U.S. As I talk about this to media and others, I constantly think, By the Grace of God, it could be me.  It could be any of us.

If this topic resonates and is of interest to you – I encourage you to attend an event being held next week at The Center On Halsted featuring U.S. Congressman Mike Quigley and others.  See event flyer and my press release below:

If Not US, Who_ – Flyer


All Aboard USA Committee
Rainbow Railroad

Media Contact: Andrew Hayes, 312-823-4333

Panel Discussion About LGBTQI+ Persecution throughout the World
Thursday, August 16 @ 6:30 p.m. Center on Halsted

CHICAGO – The All Aboard USA Committeeof Rainbow Railroadannounces a public event on Thursday, August 16th, at 6:30 p.m., at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago 60613 entitled, “If Not US, Who?: The Struggle of LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum-Seekers.”

U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) willopen the event and invite a panel of experts, along with an asylum-seeker, to share their compelling perspectives on the challenges facing LGBTQ throughout the world and what the Chicago community can do to help. LamHo, Founder & Executive Director of the Community Activism Law Alliance, will moderate the event. Panelists include:

  • Mike Jarecki, Director, Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Jackie Kaplan Perkins, Director, Chicago & Midwest Human Rights Watch
  • Joanna Thompson, Community Outreach & Engagement Coordinator for the Center on Halsted
  • Eduardo Hernandez, U.S. Development Officer, Rainbow Railroad

Event registration is available online.  Register here. Tickets are $10.  Like and follow for updated news on the group’s Facebook event page.


In 2017, Bruce Koff and Lori Cannon, well-known community activists and leaders were inspired by the actions of Artem Kolesov, a young, gay, virtuoso violinist who came out to his home country of Russia, forsaking his ability to return home safely. With the support of the Chicago LGBTQ community and allies, Artem obtained permanent resident status in the U.S. Other LGBTQI+ individuals worldwide continue to face unspeakable horror including detention, imprisonment, beatings, torture, and even death. This year’s event “If Not US, Who? The Struggle of LGBTQI+ Refugees and Asylum-Seekers” will turn our attention to them and the ways compassionate Chicagoans can help.

Event sponsors include Rainbow RailroadCenter on HalstedWindy City Times, and the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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