After installing 18 plaques on North Halsted Street recognizing game-changers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement, organizers behind the Legacy Walk are ready to do it all over again.
Victor Salvo, founder and executive director of the Legacy Project, says the 40 nominations for even more plaques on Boystown’s famous rainbow pylons are in based on 200 initial nominees. Now it’s up to a diverse team to vote on which 16 influencers deserve to join the outdoor museum.
“These are all suggestions that have been coming in to us since the nominations closed a year ago,” Salvo said. “We literally didn’t have time to process them all because we were so busy getting the installation up. … Some of the people from last year’s selection committee were asked to join us again, and those letters have just started going out.”
The selection committee will choose from names like Sally Ride. This time, they can even vote to recognize two landmark legal battles. It’s all designed to remind members of the LGBT community of their roots while featuring significant role models for gay youth.
In the midst of deciding on the new round of plaques to hit North Halsted, Salvo and his team are also planning tourism initiatives with the various Chicago festivals, as well as a partnership with Illinois Safe Schools to teach LGBT teens about the movement’s history.
“We’ll look forward to basically a whole year’s worth of activities that will formally kick off with a luncheon in spring to announce the new candidates for induction,” Salvo said. “That’ll be followed by a series of summer programs.”
Phase II of the dedication is slated for Oct. 11. That’s after the first induction ceremony in October where politicians such as Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), Ald. James Cappleman (46th), Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (12th), Rep. Greg Harris (13th) and Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Human Relations Mona Noriega came to show their support.
According to Tunney, with important work like Salvo’s Legacy Project, the future for the LGBT community can only get brighter.
“We will have many more days to celebrate, and many more historical projects to work on together,” Tunney said in October. “And if it wasn’t for you, for the private donations, for the public support, we’d be back in the closet. Let’s face it. And we cannot go back. History is on our side, and the people that we’re celebrating today have really set the path for us to actually do bigger and better things.”