This week I talked with LGBTQ ally Jennifer Camille Lee, founder and co-leader of Action Illinois a progressive advocacy organization about the Pink Hat Run, Walk & Roll that takes place in Chicago on November 4th. Illinois State Representative Juliana Stratton (D-5) and Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell (D-3) have been named Grand Marshals for the inaugural Pink Hat Run, Walk and Roll, a 5K and one-mile recreational event. The elected officials will greet participants and launch the start on Saturday November 4th in Chicago’s South Loop. Both women represent the area in which the race is being staged and both are ‘pink hatters’ in their own right, fighting for the rights of women throughout the city and state. The route takes participants along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront and Museum Campus. This action is a pledge-drive event to benefit organizations that provide services, advocacy and support to women and girls and are central to improving the lives of Chicago communities. Pink Hat Run, Walk and Roll Chicago’s 2017 beneficiaries include Access Living, Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW), Chicago Women’s AIDS Project, Chicago Women Take Action (CWTA), Fierce Over 40, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, National Organization for Women - Chicago, League of Women Voters of Chicago, Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, Personal PAC, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA), A Sister’s Hope, Women’s March on Chicago and YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. I talked to Jennifer about what she hopes to accomplish with the Pink Hat Run, Walk & Roll Event and her spin on our LGBTQ issues.
When asked how she sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in a Trump administration Lee stated,
I think that so many communities are being marginalized right now and they’re all being stepped on quite frankly. You know we kind of have to get mad and stay mad and get organized and stay organized. We just have to keep pushing. The pendulum has been pushed back against progress since (last) November and it’s up to us all to be smashing the pendulum back.
Jennifer Camille Lee is also the founder and leader of Women Rising - Illinois an organization based in downstate Illinois that recruits, trains and helps elect progressive women to office. In the most recent municipal elections, three of the four endorsed Women Rising candidates won their elections. For the last five years Jennifer has worked with the Labor Education Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to establish an Advisory Board made up of labor leaders across the Midwest, create a policy institute Project for Middle Class Renewal dedicated to improving the lives of the middleclass in Illinois through applied policy research and trainings, and developed programming for union labor and communities throughout the state. In her role there she also co-directed a Women’s Labor Leadership School. Jennifer organized the sister rally to the National Women’s March in Springfield, Illinois and was a co-chair of the Illinois Women March on Springfield event at the State Capitol which saw 2000 community members rally for a responsible state budget with a progressive agenda. The Pink Hat Run, Walk & Roll event is sponsored by Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, A & N Mortgage Services Inc. and Windy City Times.