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Living at the intersection of the marginalized identities of Blackness and Queerness, Black LGBTQ+ Chicagoans face risk factors for adverse health, economic, and social outcomes. The Black Queer Equity Index (BQEI) seeks to alleviate these factors by helping organizations live up to their values of anti-racism and equitable service of Black LGBTQ+ people.

What is the BQEI? 

Inspired by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, the BQEI will define key measures of Black Queer equity to be applied industry-wide to entities serving Black Queer people, propose tangible recommendations for improvement, and provide tools to monitor and measure progress. Creating a culture of equity and inclusion will increase employment opportunities, quality of life, and access to resources for Black Queer people, ultimately helping to mitigate risk factors facing Black Queer people across Chicagoland.

THE BQEI SUMMARIZED

THE BQEI UPDATE

The Phases of the BQEI
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Equity Indicators Categories

The indicators were created to reflect Black Queer employees’ and board members’ desires to see Real Action — that is, organizations implementing antiracist policies and practices. The items are areas where Black Queer employees and board members called for Real Action. Indicators of that Real Action follow them; in other words, what Real Action looks like in each of these areas.

The categories of indicators are as follows: 

1. Resource Allocation

2. Giving Voice and Power

3. Professional Development

4. Systemic Action

5. Data Collection

To see the complete list of indicators that fall under each category, view our 2021 BQEI Report. 

The Advisory Council 

In Phase #2 of the BQEI, Lighthouse Foundation convened a 10-member Advisory Council comprised of majority Black Queer leaders in activism, antiracism, social justice, public health, and public policy. We included an employee or board member from each of the 2021 surveyed organizations. The Advisory Council met twice for 90 minutes each to create the surveys used to gather data on the experiences of Black Queer employees and board members.

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CHICAGO READER

TRACY BAIM

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BROWN CONSULTING

CONSUELLA BROWN

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HOWARD BROWN HEALTH

SERETTE B. KING

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CHICAGO BLACK GAY MEN'S CAUCUS

JOSHUA TRAVIS

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CENTER ON HALSTED

ANGELA E. L. BARNES

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C-ROAR

DERRICK C. DAWSON

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TASKFORCE PREVENTION

REYNA ORTIZ

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CHICAGO HOUSE

ZAHARA BASSETT

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AIDS FOUNDATION CHICAGO

COLEMAN GOODE

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ANOTHER ELEMENT PODCAST

MORGAN SHERM

The Taskforce

In Phase #3 of the BQEI, we continued to have this work guided by key stakeholders required in community-led participatory action research. The Taskforce included leaders in philanthropy, Black equity, social justice, and social services. They were presented with the survey results and major themes resulting from six interviews with Black Queer board members and employees. The Taskforce met five times for two hours each. During these meetings, council members were shown findings from the surveys and major themes of the interviews. The Taskforce then reviewed each theme and created equity indicators based on their collective community expertise.

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ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

ADRIENNE IRMER

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GILEAD PHARMACEUTICALS

LORA BRANCH

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LIFE IS WORK

ZAHARA BASSETT

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PROJECT VIDA

JEROME MONTGOMERY

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ADVOCATE AURORA HEALTH

ÓSCAR IVÁN ZAMBRANO

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LOYOLA UNIVERSITY

KEITH GREEN

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YWCA EVANSTON/NORTH SHORE

RACHELLE ELLIS

OUR FUNDERS

We would like to thank the following funders for their help in making the BQEI possible:

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Endowment Fund

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