Throughout June, Pride Month has been celebrated across the country with parades, picnics and gatherings. Pride Month is celebrated to honor the June 1969 Stonewall riots in New York that were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

The acceptance the LGBTQ community has been a long, arduous process. LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender and questioning. The common goal for the LGBTQ community is for social equality for all. This should not be denied — ever.

According to a Gallup Poll released in February, the percentage of Americans who say they are satisfied with the acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the country has reached a new peak of 62%. We still have a ways to go.

The Equality Act is a bill in the United States Congress, that, if passed, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit, and jury service. It passed the House in 2021 but has stalled in the Senate judiciary committee.

Locally, the Kankakee Area LGBTQ Network, founded in 2018, recently held its Pride Picnic at the Kankakee River State Park. The local organization is creating spaces where the LGBTQ community can connect, share resources and feel safe.

Its effort should be applauded. The greater Kankakee area is a diverse community — one of the strengths of our community. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The LGBTQ community’s rights should be protected as well.

It’s a part of the freedom that we all celebrate in Kankakee, in Illinois and in the United States.

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