Lighthouse Foundation of Chicagoland is a Black Queer-led, multiracial social justice organization that advances justice for Black LGBTQ+ people across Chicagoland through empowerment, education, and entertainment. We envision a Chicagoland in which Black LGBTQ+ people are safe, resourced, empowered, liberated, and flourishing.
It all started in the summer of 2019. This was the summer that Progress Bar banned rap music, that Beatnix called the police on customers who objected to the sale of a confederate flag vest, and that Center on Halsted continued to contract with a security firm owned by an off-duty cop involved in a racist attack.
The racism in Northalsted wasn’t new. But the outrage boiled into something different: One Saturday in July, over 100 Black LGBTQ+ community members and allies packed together in a small chapel in Lincoln Park, motivated to unite and fight. This Racial Justice Summit marked the beginnings of Lighthouse Foundation of Chicagoland, founded by Jamie Frazier, pastor of Lighthouse Church of Chicago.
On creating an organization dedicated solely to the liberation and celebration of Black LGBTQ+ people, Frazier said, “Lots of folks are interested in the movement, but they aren’t necessarily interested in joining the church, so we needed to create another organizational entity beyond Lighthouse Church to house this justice work. There are various ways people arrive at justice in the world. For many folks in this room, [it’s] through faith, and for others, it’s through experience.”
In 2019, the Racial Justice Summit gave Black LGBTQ+ members a chance to share their stories, and for Lighthouse Foundation of Chicagoland to cast a vision for how we would push forward to dismantle the systems that were oppressing us. Years later, we remain true to this mission as a non-profit that centers the needs of Black LGBTQ+ folks, one that can demand accountability from those who have amassed great resources to serve us.
The Black Queer Caucus (BQC) encourages Black Queer flourishing through programming and issue identification, and CARE organizes externally by holding LGBTQ+ institutions accountable to serve the LGBTQ+ community equitably.
We recognize and celebrate the arts as a tool of self-care, healing, and justice. We infuse the arts throughout our community, organizing, and community health work. Our semiannual signature artistic event is Black Queer Pride.
Our innovative strategies address mental health on an individual, interpersonal, and structural level. Through monthly programming focused on arts, trauma, and healing justice, as well as one-on-one support and referrals, we bring mental health resources to the community.
The Black Queer Equity Index
Being Black and LGBTQ+ in the United States each has its own risk factors for adverse health, economic, and social outcomes. Lighthouse Foundation aims to collaboratively create a collective impact model with industry-wide standards for LGBTQ+ institutions that seek to pursue racial equity.