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“She is exacting & hateful,” Illinois teacher spews anti-LGBTQ hate speech

“I remember comments being made like if you were gay that was because you weren’t wanted in your parent’s womb”

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Screenshot of Morton High School via WMBD

MORTON, Il. – An investigation by CBS News affiliate WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois, into claims of intense homophobia, racial insensitivity and overt religious proselytizing in the classroom by a current part-time Morton High School teacher, revealed a pattern and complaints lodged since 2009.

According to WMBD’s Darronté Matthews, a part-time French teacher at Morton High School, Kim Johnson, is currently under investigation by school district officials which was confirmed by Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hill in two separate e-mails.

Speaking with Matthews, former students say that she created an environment that was hostile towards LGBTQ+ students, students of differing races, and also against certain religious beliefs. One former student told Matthews that Johnson was “exacting and hateful” in the classroom.

“I think that she is exacting and hateful is the way that I could put it,” Maya Phan, 2017 Morton High graduate, said. “I don’t think there are any words that can quite accurately describe the amount of damage that she has done as an educator.”

“She claimed to have a very impartial role and it very much quickly turned into her spewing her own opinions,” Phan added.

“Her opinions were often very hurtful and very much either racist or homophobic and she would say it in front of everybody in class not knowing whether people are LGBT+ in the classroom.”

Another student told Matthews; “I remember comments being made like if you were gay that was because you weren’t wanted in your parent’s womb,” the student who had Johnson’s class in 2017, said.

Matthews noted that Superintendent Hill, in the email response e-mail said that officials are aware of the allegations against Johnson, which are currently under investigation. Hill also added, “due to the ongoing nature of the investigation and the fact that this involves a matter involving both student and employee privacy, we cannot provide further comment.”

Efforts to reach Johnson were not successful.

Morton School District investigating accusations:

WYZZ-TV, Fox 43 also serving the greater Peoria, Illinois area which includes Morton ran a segment on a protest over Johnson’s hateful classroom rhetoric.

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Illinois

Aurora Pride Parade will be held Sunday after city reverses its decision

The action followed a court hearing earlier Thursday when a judge upheld the city’s initial decision to revoke the Pride Parade permit

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Screenshot/YouTube WMAQ-TV NBC 5 Chicago

AURORA, Ill. – The 2022 Aurora Pride Parade in the City of Aurora, Illinois which looked as though it was scrapped after the City revoked the permit issued for the event, got an unexpected reprieve Thursday when the City reversed its permit revocation.

That action followed a court hearing earlier Thursday when a judge upheld the city’s initial decision to revoke the Pride Parade permit based on manpower shortages and not enough police officers to man the event as required.

Parade organizers represented by the ACLU of Illinois had announced their intent to file an emergency appear with the U.S. District Court to overturn the judge’s ruling.

In a surprise move the City reversed itself saying in a statement saying; “Even after an independent hearing officer upheld the City’s decision to revoke the Pride Parade permit based on manpower shortages, we continued our good faith efforts with the Aurora Police Department to secure the additional officers needed for the 2022 Aurora Pride Parade. The City didn’t just double down on our efforts; we tripled down by offering an unprecedented triple-time financial incentive to our officers, and the required number of police officers to secure the parade has been successfully attained.”

“Consequently, a rescission of permit revocation has been submitted to Aurora Pride, and the Aurora Pride Parade can proceed as planned for Sunday, June 12,” the city’s statement said.

A couple hours later, organizers announced on Twitter the permit had been reinstated.

The decision to revoke the permit had come after an uproar last month when Aurora Pride announced they would not allow police officers to march in the parade in full uniform or bring police vehicles which sparked serious controversy in this fairly liberal suburban Chicago city of 200,000 situated next to the conservative right-leaning city of Naperville, Ill.

Original story here.

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Illinois

Illinois city revokes Pride parade permit

“We’re not giving up. Our position has been misrepresented, and we’re making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled”

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Screenshot/YouTube Chicago's ABC News affiliate WLS ABC 7

AURORA, Ill. – The 2022 Aurora Pride Parade in the City of Aurora, Illinois has been scrapped after the City revoked the permit issued for the event claiming Aurora Pride organizers failed to retain the number of law enforcement officers for the parade. 

The decision to revoke the permit comes after an uproar last month when Aurora Pride announced they would not allow police officers to march in the parade in full uniform or bring police vehicles which sparked serious controversy in this fairly liberal suburban Chicago city of 200,000 situated next to the conservative right-leaning city of Naperville, Ill.

Since Pride is considered a private event versus being municipally backed, the city said officers have to volunteer their time to work security, and that required number fell short.

In a written statement issued Wednesday, June 8, Aurora Pride wrote: “We have not been able to close the gap, despite the tireless efforts of our Safety team lead and many supporters offering their assistance. As a result, our permit is now revoked. However, we’re not giving up. Our position has been misrepresented, and we’re making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled.”

Chicago’s ABC News affiliate WLS, ABC 7 reported that some restaurant and shop owners in downtown Aurora are planning to increase their staffing for the pride parade. But now they’re playing it by ear as organizers scramble to find a way to keep the parade as scheduled.

Tecalitlan Restaurant’s owner Marissa Valencia is a supporter of the LGBTQ community. The restaurant is decorated in honor of Pride Month.

“Just so they know that we support them and we are here from them,” Valencia said.

She said parade spectators usually stop in to grab food.

“We have extra help because it gets a little crazy for orders to go,” Valencia said. “So we try to bring somebody else to help us take orders to go.”

Aurora Pride is appealing the city’s decision. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

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Illinois Governor & others mourn loss of Black Trans activist Elise Malary

“A tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community passionate about her work- her kindness & infectious smile will be missed”

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Elise Malary (Facebook/Chicago Therapy Collective)

SPRINGFIELD – In a tweet Saturday evening after Evanston Police announced that the body of a woman recovered from Lake Michigan was the missing Black Trans activist Elise Malary, Illinois Governor Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker expressed his condolences to her family and friends.

“The loss of Elise Malary is heartbreaking. My heart goes out to all her loved ones, as well as all of Illinois’ transgender community. You deserve to feel safe in your home, and I will continue to do everything in my power to make Illinois welcoming and inclusive for everyone,” the Governor said.

Malary had been missing since March 9 after she sent a text to her sister Fabiana around 9 a.m. – her last known contact. She was later reported missing on March 11.  Evanston police confirmed Saturday the body pulled from Lake Michigan on Thursday has been identified as the missing 31-year-old prominent LGBTQ+ activist.

A board member of the Chicago Therapy Collective, she worked tirelessly for the Chicago area LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.   Malary was also a member of the community advisory group for Equality Illinois, extensively fundraised for various community groups, and worked with the Illinois attorney general’s Civil Rights Bureau.

The office of Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul released a statement:

“Today is a devastating day for the Office of the Attorney General. After hoping for several days that our friend and colleague Elise Malary would be safely reunited with her family, friends and loved ones, we have received confirmation of the unthinkable.

“Elise was a valued member of our Civil Rights Bureau who, as a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community, was passionate about her work. Her kindness and infectious smile will be missed by those who worked with her.

“The Attorney General’s office has lost a member of our family, and as an office, we are heartbroken.

“I extend my deepest condolences to Elise’s family and friends. May Elise’s memory inspire all of us to live authentically and have humanity toward all.”

The state’s Lt. Governor, Juliana Stratton, also expressed her condolences saying; “I met Elise Malary at a meeting doing what she did so well: advocating for equitable access to healthcare and safe work spaces for LGBTQ+ Illinoisans. Her life mattered. And our brief encounter made me a better leader. Peace and love to all who are mourning. Rest well, Elise.”

Malary had a serious political impact especially for her fellow Trans community members. Lyricist, Writer, Humanist and President of Chicago LGBTQ Workers Center, Angelina Nordstrom expressed her grief writing;

“I’ll make this short. Our beloved friend, advocate, & sister Elise is no longer with us. My heart is shattered. While many of you have lost an advocate & a role model, I lost my best friend & my sister in community. Until we meet again, babygirl . . . RIP Elise Lydia.”

Brave Space Alliance, a Black and trans-run Chicago-based center has created a fund to help cover her funeral expenses.

In a statement, the alliance said: “Brave Space Alliance is devastated to learn that missing trans liberation leader, and beloved Chicago trans community member Elise Malary was confirmed dead today by the City of Evanston Police Department. Elise was a pillar of our community, a friend and accomplice to many, and a shining example of Black Trans Excellence.

“Elise’s work to advance the interests of trans people in Andersonville with the Chicago Therapy Collective has touched countless lives, and helped make Chicago a better place for trans people to live, work, and thrive.”

The funeral fund, the group said, “will be working with Elise’s family to ensure that she receives a memorial deserving of her dedication to Black Trans Liberation.”

The City of Evanston Police Department declined comment noting there is an investigation ongoing into Malary’s death.

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