Lighthouse Foundation (LF) was founded in 2019 and grew out of a community need observed by members of Lighthouse Church of Chicago UCC, a predominantly Black and Queer LBGTQIA+ affirming faith community. At that time, there were a number of racist incidents involving Boystown businesses, and they all came to light in relatively quick succession. This hit some major intersections for the church, and the members started organizing in response. However, listening also played a large role. Two things became clear. One was the sheer depth of macro- and microaggressions, threats to safety, and deep unwelcome experienced by Black Queer Chicagoans in Boystown and beyond. The other was the overwhelming support from those outside of the church community and their desire to join us in this movement. This led to the creation of the Lighthouse Foundation.
CARE & THE BLACK QUEER CAUCUS
The Foundation has grown to include two branches: the Black Queer caucus, which represent a cross-section of identities within the Chicagoland Black LGBTQ+ community and the Coalition of Allies for Racial Equity (CARE), the direct-action organizing arm.
The Black Queer Caucus and CARE work together to hold power brokers and entities that serve the Black LGBTQ+ community accountable, launch businesses, and provide programming that welcomes all people.
The Black Queer Caucus represents a cross-section of communities and interest areas within the Black LGBTQ+ community: Black trans folx, Black LGBTQ+ entertainers, Black lesbian and bisexual women, Black gay and bisexual men, Black non-binary and gender non-conforming folx, and anyone else whose identity is within the Black LGBTQ+ spectrum.
CARE requires all faith communities and nonprofits that join our organization to codify a statement of affirmation to the LGBTQ+ community and to extend the same rights and privileges to the LGBTQ+ members as those extended to the other members. It is impossible to challenge folks in the public square when one has not first done their work at home
Jamie Frazier, Executive Director of Lighthouse Foundation and Lead Pastor of Lighthouse Church of Chicago UCC, loves working at the intersection of race, sexuality, and religion. He attended Vanderbilt University for his undergraduate studies on a full-tuition scholarship. A celebrated orator, Jamie addressed the historic March on Springfield for Marriage Equality, and helped open the 2014 LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Summit with words of encouragement and hope. He’s appeared on CNN and several local Chicago news affiliates, been featured in Newsy, and his church work was referenced in The Washington Post. Jamie has keynoted and presented workshops at various academic institutions ranging from The University of Chicago to DePaul to Loyola University. His passion and hard work was recognized by Chicago Theological Seminary when he received the inaugural 2017 Bayard Rustin Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Work of Social Justice. In 2019 Jamie organized a movement for Black Queer liberation into an organization Lighthouse Foundation, which is a non-sectarian, nonprofit social justice organization that advances justice for Black LGBTQ+ people across Chicagoland through empowerment, education, and entertainment.
Karlyn is a writer, speaker, attorney, educator, parent, queer, organizer, volunteer, and friend. She has been with Lighthouse Foundation since its inception and is passionate about helping others, trying her best, and working to build a better world.
Leadership Council President
Smash is a teacher, pastor and organizer who serves as the CARE Lead Organizer for Lighthouse Foundation. In 2017, she organized and lead a faith-rooted opposition to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA. A southern queer now living in the Midwest, Smash remains an advocate for saying y’all. She’s excited to be working with the Lighthouse Foundation because she believes in the importance of specificity for the realization of justice.