Equality Illinois announces Freedom Awards honorees

CHICAGO–Chicago Human Relations Commissioner Mona Noriega and Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove will be the 2017 recipients of the Equality Illinois Freedom Award for their lifelong commitment to fighting for the civil rights and personal freedoms of all Illinoisans, the organization announced Monday.

The recognition will be made at the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ formal celebration, to be held on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the Hilton Chicago.

“Mona Noriega and Terry Cosgrove epitomize the criteria for the Equality Illinois Freedom Award, which was created to honor individuals and organizations who demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals in Illinois,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Starting as a citizen activist in the late 1970s, Mona Noriega organized events to help women build their community and was a trailblazer for advocacy for Latina lesbians. In 1993, she went to work for Lambda Legal, the national legal organization fighting for LGBTQ rights, where she helped to establish the Midwest office and served as the Midwest Regional Director. In 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Noriega to serve as Chair and Commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, which is charged with enforcing the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance.

“Mona Noriega has been on the front lines of fighting for LGBTQ rights and women’s rights for nearly 40 years, stepping up wherever she saw the need for passion and action,” Johnson said.

Read the full story on The Illinois Eagle.