Larry McKeon. life remembered

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1 H a Larry McKeon life remembered

2 Walking in Friendship In Accomplishment In Life In Service Larry McKeon June 30, 1944 May 13, 2008 Veteran Police Officer Elected Official Friend

3 Office of the Mayor City of Chicago As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago, I add my voice to the many paying tribute to the extraordinary life and career of the Honorable Larry McKeon. A proud veteran, former law enforcement official and dedicated public servant, Larry faithfully served the needs and concerns of fellow citizens throughout his life. As the City liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities, he played an invaluable role in fostering cooperation, tolerance and understanding. As a pioneering State Representative, Larry was a strong and effective voice for his constituents and inspired us all with his selfless dedication to helping those in need. I send my condolences to the family and friends of Larry and hope you find comfort in his memory and the love he shared with you. His enthusiastic leadership and vision will be deeply missed, but his legacy will live on in the communities and causes to which he dedicated himself so faithfully. Richard M. Daley Mayor

4 General Assembly State of Illinois To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, As the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, I was honored to have served with State Representative Larry McKeon and to call him my friend. While it is true that Larry will be recorded in the annals of Illinois history as the first openly gay, HIV-positive lawmaker to serve in the General Assembly a remarkable and important distinction, and the fact that may be most remembered we should take care to never forget that he was also an exemplary human being and public servant. Larry comported himself in a reserved and determined manner, acutely conscientious of the weight resting on his shoulders. At the same time, he was a warm and compassionate man, employing reason, a dry wit and wonderful sense of humor to win over others and achieve his legislative objectives. He took the causes that he believed in very seriously, but never himself. He might well have, but he did not, and his self-effacement was another of his qualities that people found so appealing. Larry s passing has deeply affected Illinoisans from across the state. This was particularly evident in the moving tributes he received from his legislative colleagues Democrats and Republicans, from urban, suburban and rural communities at a memorial service held on the House floor last month. They recognized that he blazed a path and set a very high standard for all elected officials to follow. More and more, Americans are coming to understand that diversity and tolerance of difference is a virtue and an incredible source of strength for our society. This growing awareness would not be possible were it not for the work of individuals like Larry and hundreds of thousands of others who, in large and small ways, each day work to break down the barriers to equality that is the American birthright. Though Larry will be profoundly missed, his legacy will live on through the eons. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss and sorrow. With kindest personal regards, I remain Sincerely yours, Michael J. Madigan Speaker of the House

5 Richard J. Durbin US Senator for Illinois Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, I had the distinct honor and pleasure of knowing Larry McKeon and I was greatly saddened by the news about his passing. My thoughts are with you and your loved ones during this difficult time. Larry McKeon dedicated his life to serving America through numerous roles including serving as an Army infantryman, a community activist and a State Representative. Within Illinois, Larry served as a State Representative for ten years and dedicated himself to improving the lives of the citizens of Illinois, particularly by expanding gay rights. His career was characterized by honesty, bravery, and devotion to all he served. Larry McKeon will be greatly missed by all who knew him, and it is our duty to carry on his legacy through continued service to others. Very truly yours, Richard J. Durbin United States Senator

6 Barack Obama US Senator for Illinois Dear Friends, It is with heavy heart that I join in offering my sympathies for the loss of my friend, Larry McKeon. I remember his life, his passion, and his career with joy. As a State Representative for 10 years, Larry broke down barriers and was a true champion of progressive causes in Springfield and throughout the state of Illinois. While we mourn his loss, his memory is an inspiration to everyone who fights for LGBT rights. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and all who benefitted from his admirable service. His family and friends continue to be in my prayers. Barack Obama United States Senator

7 Jan Schakowsky Member of Congress 9th District, IL Dear Friends: In the day-to-day business of legislating in Springfield, it is easy to overlook the fact that the person next to you is a truly historic figure. But there were moments in the House of Representatives when it became clear that Rep. Larry McKeon was one of those figures. I remember when Larry gave one of the best speeches I had ever heard on the floor of the house of the Illinois House of Representatives, passionately arguing in favor of the non-discrimination amendment to Illinois Human Rights Act. He spoke in the first person, about the discrimination that he faced in his life as a gay man, about the challenge of seeking justice when the law is not on your side, about the fear and pain of being fired and being scorned. Larry s words brought tears to my eyes but pride to my heart knowing that this struggle for human dignity had such an eloquent advocate in a seat of power. The final passage of that bill, signed into law by Governor Rod Blagojevich, is the enduring legacy of Larry s pioneering and tireless work. I was fortunate enough to serve with Larry McKeon for a short time in the Illinois House. I considered him a friend as well as a colleague. He will be deeply missed. Jan Schakowsky Member of Congress

8 Rahm Emanuel Member of Congress 5th District, IL Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy on the passing of a great public servant, Larry McKeon. Larry served as a Member of the Illinois General Assembly for a decade, from January 1997 to January As the first openly gay member of the General Assembly, he broke down barriers and fought for equal treatment for all Illinoisans. In addition to pushing for an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Larry was also instrumental in advocating for the expansion of Truman College. Larry worked tirelessly on behalf of the gay and lesbian community, immigrants, the homeless, seniors, workers, and more. He was a man who cared deeply about social justice, and his public service reflected his values. Through his commitment to service and our state, Larry made a lasting impact in Illinois, and we will miss him. Rahm Emanuel Member of Congress

9 Gene Schulter Alderman - 47th Ward Dear Friends, I am writing today to express my deepest condolences to the family and supporters of my friend Larry McKeon. His passing on May 13, 2008 was a loss for the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and for all those fighting for social justice in our communities. I had the pleasure to serve the residents of the Ravenswood area alongside Larry when he was elected as the State Representative for the community in 1996 and as he continued to serve through In my experience, Larry constantly challenged politics as usual and fought for the disenfranchised of the community. It was an honor to serve with Larry and I will remember him fondly for the contributions he made to our City. Gene Schulter, Alderman, 47th Ward City of Chicago h

10 Helen Shiller Alderman - 46th Ward On Wednesday, May 14, 2008 the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago and the 46th Ward lost a true friend when State Representative Larry McKeon passed away. Larry served with great courage, integrity, honesty and compassion. As Illinois first openly gay State Representative he forged new paths and played the singularly most important role in passing the state s Human Rights Law. As an elected official on Chicago s north lakefront, he fought for increasing public health care, providing greater access from private health care providers, maintaining affordable housing and full funding for public education. Larry was truly a man of the people, at home in virtually every situation and with all people. His great heart his giant intellect and his compelling sense of humor will be sorely missed. It was an honor and a privilege to know Larry McKeon. I join with thousands of others in mourning this remarkable man s passing. Helen Shiller Alderman - 46th Ward h Mike Quigley Commissioner - 10th District Cook County Board of Commissioners I share the sense of loss felt by all of Larry McKeon s family and friends Larry was an extraordinary individual and great leader. Over the years I attended many legislative hearings and community meetings with Larry, and at times during the last few years I could sense that he was sick and in pain. But he didn t show it he kept working and persevering, delivering on his pledges to the LGBT community and the community as a whole. I will always remember Larry s extraordinary determination and will always be inspired by it. He will be missed. Mike Quigley

11 Office of the Attorney General State of Illinois Dear Friends, I had the wonderful good fortune to know and work with Larry McKeon for over ten years. When I joined the State Senate, one of the best aspects of my new job was the opportunity it gave me to work with and learn from Larry. We worked closely on a huge range of issues facing the communities in our district and throughout the state. In every interaction, I saw the breadth of Larry s knowledge, his tremendous skill in navigating state government to make sure it worked for his constituents, and his endless passion to make life better for everyone in Illinois. Larry truly lived up to the ideals of public service. He fought tirelessly for issues close to his heart and important to his district and never let any obstacle no matter how large get in his way. As a result, Larry achieved many significant victories, like expanding the Illinois Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and spearheading the expansion of Truman College on Chicago s north side. And while he made his mark most recently as a State Representative, Larry s dedication to public service spanned his entire life and included the U.S. Army, the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department, as well as his work at United Charities and as Executive Director of the Chicago Human Rights Commission s Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues. Throughout his career, Larry put the people that he served ahead of himself. He did the right thing, time and time again, for his constituents and our state. His integrity, warmth, compassion and strength set a high standard for us all. Illinois is truly indebted to Larry for his service and sacrifices. I was blessed to share so many years of public service with such a wonderful colleague. I will miss Larry. Very truly yours, Lisa Madigan Attorney General

12 Patrick J. O'Connor Alderman - 40th Ward In Remembrance of Larry McKeon: Larry McKeon, as State Representative of the 13th District, represented a portion of the 40th Ward in the city of Chicago. I had the good fortune of interacting with Larry on a number of issues concerning the 40th Ward and he worked, tirelessly, for the good of our community. Larry touched the lives of many people and will be missed by all who knew him. May he rest in peace. Patrick J. O Connor Alderman 40th Ward h Bernie Hansen Former 44th Ward Alderman - Committeeman Dear Friends, Everyone in the 44th Ward family is deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Larry McKeon. Larry was a leader in making sure the LGBT community was well represented in Springfield. He was an individual who worked tirelessly on behalf of all his constituents and was an outstanding legislator for his district. Larry s spirit and dedication will be sorely missed. Bernie Hansen Former 44th Ward Alderman - Committeeman

13 Pat Verschoore State Representative - 72nd District Dear family and friends of Larry McKeon: The loss of someone special is very difficult to accept and creates a void that is impossible to fill. I hope remembering the good times and laughter you shared with Larry will help to ease your sadness and that the warm thoughts of his many friends will be of comfort to you. Larry was very helpful to me as I was learning the ropes as a rookie legislator I appreciated his assistance. He was a guy who was always in good spirits his mood spread to others and made some hectic days in Springfield easier to handle. As a pet owner, I understood and was impressed with the kindness and wonderful care he gave to his greyhounds even during busy legislative session times he made certain they received excellent treatment. On a humorous note I hope Larry has found someone to share his frustration about the soaring gas prices and the limits it placed on his motor home travels. Peace and sympathy to you at this difficult time. Pat Verschoore State Representative 72nd District h

14 Tom Tunney Alderman - 44th Ward Dear Friends, All of us in the 44th Ward were very saddened to learn of the passing of our friend Larry McKeon. Larry was a trail blazer in many ways. As the city s first liaison to the LGBT Community under Mayor Daley, he helped build bridges between the LGBT Community and city agencies. Today, Chicago has one of the most inclusive police departments in the country thanks to the partnerships Larry built and his experience in law enforcement. As the first openly gay and HIV positive member of the Illinois General Assembly, Larry first gave a legislative voice to communities struggling for acceptance, recognition, and services. Through his dedication and political savvy Illinois became the 15th state to include lesbians and gays in its human rights ordinance and only the 5th state to recognize the rights of transgendered persons. His leadership on HIV/AIDS issues improved the well-being and extended the lives of thousands of Illinoisans struggling with the disease. On behalf of myself and the 44th Ward family, I wish to express our sincere condolences on the passing of a friend, loved one, and mentor. I am happy to have called Larry a friend and he will be deeply missed. Tom Tunney Alderman 44th Ward

15 PFLAG Northern Illinois Council To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, The Northern Illinois PFLAG Council and its chapters express their deepest condolences to the passing of Larry McKeon. As the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly, we wish to thank him for all of his efforts to secure equal rights for our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender loved ones in the state of Illinois. As parents, family members and friends, we strive to secure equality for our LGBT loved ones and we cannot have come this far without the heroic contributions of Mr. McKeon. We will do all we can to carry on his vision and work towards his and our goal of protecting our LGBT children and friends from discrimination and inequality. We mourn the loss of Mr. McKeon and express our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Peter Ji President, PFLAG Northern Illinois Council h Julie Hamos State Representative - 18th District Dear Friends and Family of Larry McKeon, Representative Larry McKeon will be remembered for his courage to stand up for what he believed in. I continue to admire Larry McKeon s bold approach and commitment to problem solving. While Rep. McKeon was most famous for his work on human rights, let us not forget that he had the bravery speak out about many unpopular causes. He challenged his colleagues to consider the good of the whole. For this, Representative Larry McKeon s legacy will endure. Julie Hamos Illinois State Representative 18th District

16 Richard F. Mell 33rd Ward Alderman & Committeeman Dear Friends, It is with a heavy heart that I offer my deepest condolences to the friends and loved ones of former State Representative Larry McKeon on the event of his untimely passing. I have vivid and fond memories of Larry. He was courageous in his activism and gracious in his victories. Larry s tenacious commitment to this great City of Chicago and the State of Illinois was to be admired. Larry McKeon s death will leave a void in our community that will not be easy to fill. However, we all can honor his dedication to his work by continuing to move forward on the issues that mattered to him. Larry McKeon did not serve as a citizens activist and as State Representative to represent a single constituency but rather to unite diverse individuals and pursue goals that benefited every man, woman and child in the State of Illinois. Larry took on the causes that very few were willing to battle to win. Most of the time, Larry won his fights because his reasoning on the issue resonated with every citizen in our city and state. In closing, I once again offer my deepest sympathy to those who knew and loved Larry McKeon. He was truly a renaissance figure. Richard F. Mell Alderman & Committeeman - 33rd Ward h

17 Chuck Wolfe Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Larry McKeon lived his life bravely, honestly, with integrity and a deeply held commitment to serving his community. He served his country, his state and the LGBT community tirelessly, and he did so with courage as an openly gay man who was also open about being HIV positive. Larry was an appointed official when the Victory Fund endorsed his first run for political office in After winning that election, making him Illinois very first openly gay elected official, he paved the way for dozens more to serve openly and honestly. Though Larry left office in 2007, his legacy lives on in the courageous lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have followed his lead into public service. These individuals, like all of us, owe Larry a tremendous debt of gratitude. The Victory Fund family is saddened by Larry s passing, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his friends and family. Those of us who worked with him, and those whose lives he touched, are privileged to have witnessed the work of a truly great public leader. In sympathy, Chuck Wolfe President and CEO Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

18 Reverend Stan J. Sloan Chicago House Larry was a dear friend of mine and of Chicago House s, and he will be greatly missed. Several times each year he would call and ask if he could come by one of our houses to spend time with our residents. Those visits, he said, helped him keep perspective with his own struggles... his struggles with his health... his struggles with his recovery... his struggles with his day to day frustrations. That, for me, is the perfect metaphor for the lovely person that Larry was: he constantly touched humanity by being so constantly human. Chicago House remains grateful for the legacy that he leaves. Rest in peace, our dear friend. The Reverend Stan J. Sloan, Chicago House CEO h Patricia R. Bellock State Representative - 47th District Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: I was extremely saddened to hear the news about Larry s death especially after we had all just seen him the week before and he was looking so good. Maybe that was God s way of letting us say goodbye in a happier way in the Capitol which he loved so dearly. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that Larry s circle of family and friends will surround you and give you faith and strength in this time of sorrow. Warmest regards, Patricia R. Bellock Illinois State Representative 47th District

19 Pat Quinn Lieutenant Governor, Illinois To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: I would like to express my deepest condolences to you during this difficult time. Larry served as an inspiration to all of us in Illinois, representing the people of this state with great courage and conviction. I had the honor of walking with Larry and seeing the positive way people responded to him during the 2003 Gay Pride Parade It is clear to me that people enjoyed walking with Larry in life, whether he was serving as a solider, a police officer, a community activist or a lawmaker. It is never easy to be the first to do anything. And it s certainly never easy to fundamentally change an entrenched establishment. But Larry McKeon did just that, and he changed us all in the process. He will be dearly missed. Pat Quinn, Lt. Governor h Center on Halsted Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, The staff, board and volunteers of Center on Halsted extend our heartfelt appreciation for Larry s long-time support and unwavering commitment to creating a safe space for the LGBT community. As the first openly gay member of the Illinois Legislature, Larry helped secure key funding to make the Center a reality. He was a true friend of Horizons/Center on Halsted and we miss him. We share Larry s goal of equality for the LGBT community and commit to continuing to achieve that goal. His courage will inspire us and we will cherish his legacy. Modesto Tico Valle, Executive Director

20 Sara Feigenholtz State Representative - 12th District Dear Friends: The world of politics and government is a unique and crazy one to live in, but Larry chose it and he spent his time well. He was 51 and living with AIDS when he first got elected. At that point in life many people begin to think about winding down and contemplate retirement, but that is when Larry began his elected career. For many people at the state capitol, Larry was the first person living with AIDS they had ever met and he was the first openly gay person representing us in Springfield. Larry represented something more than reading about people living with AIDS - we remember seeing him get sick, and then we remember seeing him get well. And we saw him not die. And for many of us we can t unring that bell. He came to Springfield wanting to change things remembering all too clearly how painful his life was living in fear of being gay. He arrived at the state capitol holding his head high and in the back of his mind, after all of the accolades of being the first openly elected official in the Illinois House, all he really cared about was stopping the pain of discrimination for future generations. For him discrimination represented suffering for all of us-- for women, for African Americans, for Latinos and for the poor, helpless and the most vulnerable. In the end, Larry didn't care how big his house was; he cared about fixing bad things in our world. He cared about justice. I feel blessed to have known him, Sara Feigenholtz State Representative 12th District

21 Citizen Action Illinois Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, On behalf of Citizen Action/Illinois we want to offer our deepest sympathy on the passing of our dear friend and colleague. Larry s leadership and progressive vision for our state inspired the work of Citizen Action for the past decade. Larry served as a member of the Citizen Action policy council and led many of our battles on behalf of the public interest. His sense of justice and dedication to those people who did not have a voice was always his most striking attribute both as a leader and as a human being. Citizen Action is proud to have honored Larry at our 2006 Annual Dinner with a lifetime achievement award. His service will always be remembered. The life and work of Representative McKeon will remain an inspiration to all of us who strive to create a society where every human life has equal worth, and every human being has the right to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. In solidarity and peace, Lynda DeLaforgue Co-Director Deborah mell William McNary Co-Director h Today we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Larry McKeon, the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly. As a key activist, Larry was passionate about ensuring the rights of people with HIV/AIDS and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Larry fought for us in the State Legislature and challenged us to be proud of ourselves regardless of the judgments of other people. I was deeply saddened to hear about his passing. Larry s leadership and kindness has been a source of inspiration to many. When I first returned to Chicago, he shared his support and wisdom with me as I began my journey into the LGBT community. Larry s advocacy, dedication, and enthusiasm will be deeply missed. To his friends, family and colleagues, please accept my most sympathies. I know we will continue his tireless effort to achieve greater equality for all of the men and women in our great State. Deborah Mell Democratic Nominee, Illinois State Representative, 40th District

22 Justice Project Against Sexual Harm Dear Friends and Family of Larry McKeon: Larry was a great man. He was my State Representative and also a colleague and ally when I worked for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Larry truly represented all of his constituents. He showed equal respect and deference to the homeowners in his district as he did to those who lived in the parks and under the viaducts. He often made time to find those living on the streets and "hang out" because in his words, "I represent everyone in my district." Larry will always be remembered as the champion of gay rights. This was not his only accomplishment. I worked with Larry on the issues of affordable housing, homelessness prevention, workforce development, alternatives to incarceration, and veteran's affairs. He was also the spark, as Chairman of the House Labor Committee, of initiatives to ensure that State workforce development spending reaches those who have traditionally been left out homeless adults and youth who have many barriers. These are just a few of the issues he championed and could speak passionately and knowledgeably about because Larry embodied equality. He truly believed that all people are created equal and that government's primary responsibility is to ensure that all people have equal access to opportunity and support. Larry was not afraid to challenge the status quo, and inspired us all to believe that one person can ignite movements for justice and change despite the many formidable challenges that exist. A few years ago, hundreds of people turned out for his "retirement" party and showed their overwhelming support. Why? Because we all believe in Larry. State Representative Larry McKeon was the people's representative. With grace, savvy, and courage he navigated and challenged the politics of Springfield and made his constituents proud to vote for him, work with him, and call him a friend. Samir Goswami

23 Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, Larry was special. He was a politician who cared about all of the people in his district. I first met him several years ago when the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless was looking for a person to champion the cause of low wage workers. Larry responded to the request with the passion that was his trademark. As Chairman of the House Labor Committee he worked so that the workforce development spending reached those who need it the most. Larry was honest, straightforward and a pleasure to work with. He was the champion of gay rights but he embraced a variety of issues. He believed that government had a real responsibility in protecting and including all people, especially those who are most marginalized. In a time of great cynicism with our political leaders, Larry stands out as an example of a leader who really worked for all people. Larry was a man of integrity and grit. He was savvy and caring. I want to join the chorus of others and say, I knew a great human being, a caring politician and a wonderful leader of the people. I knew Larry McKeon. Edward Shurna Executive Director Chicago Coalition for the Homeless h

24 Chicago Federation of Labor To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Larry McKeon was a true friend to working men and women and to the labor movement. His hard work and pure dedication to helping others made him one of the strongest and most effective advocates for working people in Chicago, throughout Illinois and across the country. As a State Representative, Chairman of the Labor Committee, community leader and public servant, Larry stood for everything we fight for, including justice in the workplace, fair treatment for working men and women, and access to quality affordable health care. Thanks to his life's work, the rights of the working people are stronger and our workplaces are safer and more just. While we lost a real friend in Larry McKeon, the lives of millions of working men and women throughout the state are better because of his long career of public service. We are grateful for all that he did on behalf of working families and will always consider him a dear friend of the labor movement. Dennis J. Gannon President Jorge Ramirez Secretary-Treasurer

25 Planned Parenthood of Illinois It was with deep sadness that we learned of Larry's passing. During the many years that we worked with him in the Illinois General Assembly, we were blessed by his warm and affirming presence. Many wonderful things have been said about Larry's service to the people of Illinois. Indeed, he was dedicated to the principles of equality and human rights for all. In particular, we would like to recognize Larry's commitment to the women of Illinois and their fight for reproductive justice. When they first arrive in Springfield, newly elected legislators tend to lay low while they are learning the ropes. They are encouraged by staff to avoid involvement in anything "controversial." Not Larry. In his first term he signed on as a hyphenated co-sponsor to HB 319, the Freedom of Choice Act. This is simply not something that a freshman would normally do. But Larry wanted to immediately establish once and for all where he stood on issues close to his heart. From that point on, we knew where Larry stood on each and every bill related to women's health and well being. Larry was steadfast. He never wavered. He never had to be convinced. He was always with us. Larry will continue to be with us. It is people like Larry people who take the personal risks and stand up for what they believe who inspire us to continue our work. Even though the progress can be slow in coming and we will face defeat at times, Larry's dedication will give us the encouragement we need to carry on. Thank you, Larry. Pamela A. Sutherland Brigid F. Leahy

26 Lambda Legal Dear Friends and Family of Larry McKeon, Representative Larry Mckeon understood that it was not enough to win in the legislature or in the courts. He knew, that for our movement to succeed, we also had to win in the court of public opinion. And as Illinois' first openly gay state legislator, he provided the Land of Lincoln with a powerful, compassionate example of what is possible when we proudly live our life out loud. Larry dedicated his entire life demanding full equality for all people. Certainly, from Lambda Legal's perspective, his achievements and the fights he championed were vital for the communities we serve. Living with HIV, Larry championed the Illinois Human Rights Act, fought hard for HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention funds, and for that matter, all issues that demanded justice and equality under the law. Larry reached far beyond the GLBT community, in demanding full health care, and full civil rights, for everyone. Larry understood that every person deserved to have a voice. Every person in Illinois that had been marginalized or disenfranchised was given a voice on the floor of the Illinois House thanks to Representative McKeon. On behalf of everyone that works, volunteers for, or has benefited by Lambda Legal, we celebrate the extraordinary life of Larry McKeon. He brought joy and passion to the fight for justice and he has provided a foundation that all of us will benefit from for decades to come. Jim Bennett Midwest Regional Director

27 Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues Larry McKeon well served the Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues (now the Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues) with his diligence, perceptiveness, and human relations skills throughout his time as the Advisory Council's Director. By upholding the Advisory Council's autonomy and its mission to serve both the City and its own constituency, he strengthened the Council's influence and heightened its respect by the public and the city government. Larry brought his political talents to the Council's aid not only by negotiating a place for the Council in department decision-making and by enabling the Council to fulfill its role of advising the Commission on Human Relations but also by developing a direct relationship with the Office of the Mayor and becoming a trusted advisor to that office on numerous issues falling within the Council's purview. In turn, his role helped the City's administration to build a more collaborative relationship with Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. Larry's calm demeanor and ability to deal with persons of divergent viewpoints enabled him, the Advisory Council, and the Human Relations Commission to assist in resolving disputes between community groups or between them and institutions outside the community. After Larry left the Council, the abilities he deployed on our behalf were again brought to bear on problems affecting people in his legislative district and in the entire state. They earned him praise as a legislator that corresponded to the high praise he earned for his previous Advisory Council service. We are honored to help recognize Larry's accomplishments as he is memorialized. William W. Greaves Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Issues

28 American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: The members and staff of AFSCME Council 31 honor the memory of Larry McKeon, a lifelong advocate for social justice. Larry s long and varied career was distinguished by a commitment to public service as veteran, a community leader, an elected official and as a public employee. All Illinois public employees owe him a debt of gratitude for his role in initiating, sponsoring and passing the historic Public Act , which allows government workers to win union representation through the card check process. In the five years since it was enacted, that law has allowed thousands of Illinois public employees to gain important benefits and job security through the collective bargaining process. As Chair of the House Labor Committee, Larry also helped many other working people improve their lives and workplaces through state legislation. These, of course, were just some of his many accomplishments during his years in the Illinois General Assembly. We also remember Larry McKeon as a fearless voice for honesty and integrity in the political system. He was not afraid to stand up to those who betrayed the public interest or acted against the public good. Larry lived a full and meaningful life, one of strength hand grace. Our state is the better for it.

29 Chuck Jefferson State Representative - 67th District Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: When I first came to the General Assembly in 2001, Larry McKeon was my seatmate. We started talking, and Larry asked me if I was married. I told him that I had recently lost my wife to cancer. He shared that he had recently lost his partner as well. "So how long were you your wife married?" I asked him. "My partner," he said. And I sat there thinking about that until it dawned on me. "Oh!" * * * Larry was a good man and a great advocate for the people. I truly miss him, both as a friend and a legislator. Chuck Jefferson Illinois State Representative 67th District h Cook County Commissioner 13th District Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Larry was always trying to help others and was always fighting to stop discrimination of any type. He was the champion of everyone. Larry Suffredin Cook County Commissioner 13th District

30 Howard Brown Dear family and friends of Larry McKeon, Howard Brown was deeply saddened by the loss of Larry McKeon. Our community has lost a great friend and leader. Larry was always supportive of Howard Brown: he was there fighting for us when we wanted to build our facility on Sheridan Road and he sought and obtained funding on a local and state level for many of Howard Brown's programs over the years. As the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly, and in some ways more importantly an openly HIV-positive member, Larry was able to transcend prejudice and pre-conceived notions to make a great impact for our community. He understood firsthand what challenges these communities face, and he fought tirelessly to make sure they were heard. We were proud to present him with our Friend For Life Award in During filming for the video portion of the Friend For Life presentation at his office, Larry s beloved rescued greyhounds were never far from his side. He spoke with such affection about those two dogs and the time he spent with them in his RV traveling to state parks in Illinois and the Midwest. The love he had for them showed that his compassion for others was endless and extended well beyond the community he served. He will be missed. With deepest sympathy, Michael Cook Howard Brown President and CEO

31 AIDS Foundation of Chicago Dear Friends: Larry McKeon s life and legacy are remarkable in countless ways. As the state s first openly gay and openly HIV-positive state legislator, Larry inspired LGBT and HIV advocates across Illinois and the nation. He showed all of us so clearly that one s sexual orientation or HIV status should never, ever be barriers to accomplishing extraordinary things. And what great things he accomplished in Springfield. During his decade in the Illinois General Assembly, Larry worked tirelessly to address the needs of people living with HIV and viral hepatitis. He prevented regressive and harmful HIV legislation, expanded voluntary HIV testing services, and secured new funding for community HIV/ AIDS programs across the state. Illinois today is an undisputed leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS thanks to Larry s incredible passion, compassion, and leadership. After his retirement, Larry lobbied on a pro bono basis for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He stood outside the door to the House chamber like all the other lobbyists, putting his connections and relationships to work for a cause that he cared about deeply. We will miss Larry s friendship, sense of humor, warmth, kindness, generosity and loyalty. Larry was proud to be who he was a farmer s son, gay man, police officer, army officer, person living with HIV, professor, advocate, tech geek, state legislator, RV owner, and greyhound lover. We thank Larry for being Larry and love him and miss him deeply. But his legacy lives on and inspires us to keep up the good fight. He would expect no less. Mark Ishaug President/CEO

32 Human Rights Campaign To The Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: While we have lost a dear friend and a true leader, Larry has left us both a legacy and inspiration to continue our quest for equality. Someone must always go first, and Larry did just that, both as an organizer in our community and then for a decade as the first openly gay representative in the Illinois General Assembly. And he did all of this while facing his own, almost unimaginable loss. To lose his partner, Ray, just 12 weeks after learning of his HIV status was a devastating blow. But again, Larry inspired the best in all of us, and went on to serve his state and to represent our community and, eventually, his constituents with grace, tenacity and tremendous heart. Too often, I fear, we forget those who have made it easier and possible for the rest of us. Larry McKeon went first, he did so in difficult times and by doing that he gave the rest of us voice, hope and a passion for what was possible. Joe Solmonese, President Human Rights Campaign h Heather A. Steans Illinois State Senator - 7th District Former State Representative Larry McKeon recently passed away but he left his world and our community a far better place. I am only a freshman legislator but Larry McKeon's reputation for intense advocacy on behalf of the disadvantaged already focuses my work in Springfield. Larry was a humanitarian and an advocate for all people that were disenfranchised. He was willing to be a voice for those among us who are not often heard. While he may be most remembered as Illinois' first openly gay legislator and a force to getting our state to at last ban discrimination against gays and lesbians, I will remember him as a public official who served with credibility and heart. I will honor Larry's service and memory by bringing this same sense of purpose to my work in Springfield as best I can. Heather A. Steans Illinois State Senator - 7th District

33 John A. Fritchey State Representative - 11th District Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, Larry and I were elected the same year from adjoining districts, and had the opportunity to work together on issues in Springfield as well as back in our neighborhoods. Getting to know Larry as both a friend and colleague was a true privilege. He never met a challenge to which he wouldn t rise and he led as varied and enriching a life as any of us could hope for. Even after Larry retired, I would still see him in the halls of the Capitol advocating for issues that he cared about in that quiet, determined manner he had. I was never surprised to see him doing it, because that s just who Larry was. Larry s work for equal rights and acceptance of the GLBT community made him a true civil rights leader, something for which he will always be remembered. But I will also remember him as an advocate of the human spirit and for all human rights. He was a true champion. Hon. John Fritchey h

34 h Carol Ronen Former Illinois State Senator - 7th District Larry McKeon left us too soon, but what a full life he led and what a huge difference he made for so many people. I first met Larry when he worked for Mayor Daley as Liaison to the GLBT community. He was adept and masterful at working with the diverse voices of that community, keeping them all involved and connected to the everyday workings of the city of Chicago. Before his job as Mayor Daley s Assistant he found time to be a Police Office, a soldier, a social service administrator and a strong and emerging voice for people. He accomplished much in all of these roles a record that anyway would be satisfied with and proud of and then he decided he could reach even higher. He waged a hard fought campaign for State Representative to become the first openly gay member of the General Assembly. His win was historic and his years in the Legislature changed the lives of people throughout Illinois. His tireless efforts to pass Illinois landmark human rights act epitomize Larry as a person and a professional. And he will always be remembered for the role he played. Carol Ronen

35 BEHIV Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Larry was an inspiration to many of us. Despite the attributes which are most often used to describe him Illinois' first openly gay legislator, its first HIV-positive legislator I believe Larry saw himself as much more than that. A common refrain from GLBT elected officials is that their work, indeed themselves as people and legislators, not be judged solely by their sexual orientation. We should remember this when remembering Larry. The hallmark of an effective legislator is not the attention or notoriety gained for the issue or issues for which they are most well known. To be truly effective, to foster action, accomplishment, progress, one must understand that everyone serving in that body has goals that they want to achieve. These goals cannot be achieved individually. The legislative process is by nature a collaborative one and good legislators know that their often unrecognized work on issues of greater importance to others will have a larger impact than the work that draws them headlines. Pioneering gay politician Harvey Milk understood this and fostered coalitions between San Francisco's burgeoning gay community and other groups advocating for change. Larry understood this concept well. His work on behalf of environmental, organized labor, children's and transportation issues helped him build relationships on both sides of the aisle and showed that he was not singularly focused on GLBT causes. These relationships were immensely important in gaining the majorities needed for passage of the amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act for which Larry is most praised. Larry understood that the most important legislative work listening, cooperating, understanding, learning is done away from the cameras and public glare. We should all learn a lesson from Larry in understanding that we cannot focus solely on "our" issues, whatever they may be at the time. We must know that we are part of a larger society, a larger process, in which we need to play a role in helping others, advocating for their needs and doing what is right, even if it doesn't seem to benefit us. Because, in the end, it will. Respectfully, Eric Nelson Executive Director, BEHIV

36 Heartland Alliance Dear family and friends of Larry McKeon, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights joins in celebrating the life of Larry McKeon. Throughout Larry s career, we continually witnessed his tireless dedication to advancing the human rights of Illinois residents. Larry s commitment to the passage of an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act created important legal protections for LGBT residents. Even as an outspoken member of the LGBT community, his efforts were never short sighted. Larry understood the importance of supporting human rights for all people. He continually stood up for immigrants, refugees, women, people of color, the poor, and all who felt marginalized, making Illinois a more just, welcoming place. Larry worked tirelessly to assure quality services were available for the ill at times when few were brave enough to be concerned. His efforts helped create a network of services primary care, housing, income supports, and mental health that continues to support Illinois residents living with HIV and AIDS. Many of the services and supports Heartland Alliance provides our clients are because of his efforts while in Springfield. Larry was also a strong supporter in protecting the dignity and respect of workers at all income levels. His work on labor issues helped promote balanced economic development while guaranteeing workers rights in Illinois. As a legislator, many of Heartland Alliance s service sites were in Larry s district. He walked the same streets as our clients and staff, sharing many of the same concerns as the neighborhoods developed and residents changed. We hope that others join us in working to continue his commitment to our community and our state. The Heartland Alliance family is eternally grateful to Larry McKeon. We will forever remember Larry as our friend and ally. Rev. Dr. Sid L. Mohn, O.E.F. President

37 Office of the Secretary of State To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: It was with deep sadness when I learned of the passing of our beloved Larry McKeon. As you are well aware, his untimely demise was one that had a devastating effect on all who knew him. His passing creates a true void in the lives of his friends and legion of admirers. Larry's loyalty, dedication and humanitarian commitment should not only be remembered, but also emulated for the sake of building a better society. Larry's actions and conduct spoke louder than his words. He provided a shining example of humility and calmness, love and caring, as well as honor and integrity. He was a vibrant example of a person who demonstrated the traits and attributes of a human being whose contributions were invaluable to his state and community. His accomplishments in the areas of government and community affairs exemplified his stamina and determination. Larry was a remarkably efficient and studious public servant and legislator a true visionary who implemented ideas, lobbied effectively for righteous causes, valued consensus and showed compassionate concern in raising our collective consciousness in the effort to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. He was guided more by personal principles than expedient dictates and decision-making. While his public demeanor was always respectful and not self-aggrandizing, his legacy as a public servant is anything but unremarkable. I extend my profound sympathy and offer my condolences to you. Larry McKeon unquestionably helped to make this world a better and more humane place for us to live. His courage and close comradeship should be deeply embedded in our hearts as a living remembrance. Jesse White Illinois Secretary of State

38 Michael Bauer To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Larry McKeon was both a dear friend and a hero to me. In so many ways, it is difficult to remember how different the world was in 1996 where Larry was first elected to the Illinois House as its first openly gay member and as its first openly HIV-positive member. When Larry arrived in Springfield, he heard the homophobic slurs that were made within earshot of him and he saw the ugly gestures made in his direction; yet he always conducted himself with his natural grace and dignity and a determination to improve the lives of LGBT persons throughout the State. His ability to reach out and generate support from a wide array of members led to his triumphant success of passage in 2005 of Illinois' amendment of the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination and has laid the groundwork for LGBT persons living in Illinois to secure equal rights in this society. It wasn't always easy for Larry to be a trailblazer for our community - oftentimes LGBT trailblazers are criticized both from right-wing zealots and from within our own community. Larry eventually came to realize that such comments come with the turf of being an elected official. One of the great honors Larry gave to me was when he asked me in 2006 to present him the special award of recognition bestowed upon him by Citizen Action Illinois at its annual dinner on September 18, This award was greatly meaningful to Larry because it came from an organization that advocated on behalf of consumer rights, labor unions, LGBT rights and abortion rights all of which meant so much to Larry. Roger's and my lives have been so enriched by Larry's friendship and our community has been so fortunate to be the beneficiary of his herculean efforts. His passing is a loss for all of us but he leaves a legacy of having bettered the lives of all LGBT persons in Illinois forever. We will miss him greatly. Michael Bauer

39 Gregory S. Harris State Representative - 13th District Dear Friends and Family of Rep. Larry McKeon, I join all of Larry s thousands of friends in mourning his passing. He is remembered at the State Capitol as a man of deep convictions, tireless effort and gentle good humor. He is particularly remembered as a fighter for those struggling to make life better for themselves and their families. His legislative efforts on behalf of working people as Chairman of the Committee on Labor, and his sponsorship of amendments to the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation are but two milestones he accomplished on behalf of the People of Illinois. In his district, Larry will be remembered for his many contributions to improving our neighborhood schools, our parks, local business and the expansion of Truman College which will benefit the community for generations to come. He will be remembered for striving to improve access to health care, progressive policies for the treatment of HIV/ AIDS and cancer. In ways big and small, our day to day lives have been made better by his work. I join all the residents of the 13th Legislative District in expressing sorrow for Rep. McKeon s passing, but remember with gratitude his accomplishments that continue to make our community a better place to live. Very truly yours, Gregory S. Harris Illinois State Representative 13th District

40 h William A. Marovitz Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, Having served in the House and Senate for almost twenty years, it is easy for me to recognize a legislator whose sole motivation is to do what is best for his constituents. Larry McKeon was just such an outstanding individual. He worked diligently at finding out what the issues were in his district, constantly communicating with his constituency and finding out how best he could help with their needs. His service office always went the extra mile to try and be helpful. Larry was the epitome of what a good elected official should be. He will truly be missed by his many friends and constituents, all of whom are better off from knowing and being served by Representative Larry McKeon. Sen. William A. Marovitz Vice Chairman, Democratic Party of Illinois State Central Committeeman - 9th Congressional District

41 Jackie Leavy Former State Representative Larry McKeon will be remembered by the people of Illinois and Chicago for many things. While I was not a close personal friend of Larry s, I was an admirer and felt in many respects, we became colleagues. I write this tribute from my heart, but also from my perspective as a lifelong advocate for social justice and a long-time servant of Chicago s grassroots neighborhood revitalization movement and grassroots community organizations. NCBG and I worked with Larry on many issues: Equal access to public transportation for the working poor, transparency and accountability in government, job retention and community economic development for Chicago s communities, and rebuilding our transit and neighborhood infrastructure. Whatever the task at hand, Larry approached it with energy, determination, and a profound commitment to make things better for those whose voices are too often not heard in the seats of government. Larry couldn t ever be described or fully explained easily. His personality and accomplishments were too rich to reduce to a few complimentary attributes. But here is a glimpse of what we saw and experienced in working with Larry over the years: Courage: Larry defied and deconstructed stereotypes in everything he did and said. He took principled positions on issues affecting his constituents and the public at large. Yet he also had the courage to work for meaningful and practical solutions to complex problems. He wasn t afraid of nuance; or to negotiate and work things out with people. Humility: Larry was always and first and foremost a humble, approachable, and open person. He never seemed to be tainted by the arrogance of power that can come to some in elected office. He truly listened to what others had to say, and never dismissed or demeaned the opinions or input of other people. Determination: Grounded in his courage and humility, Larry undertook causes and struggles with a determination that did not allow the difficulties and odds against succeeding in his pursuits defeat his sense of purpose. Love of Life: I have seldom met anyone who enjoyed being alive so much. He seemed to take delight in every struggle, every challenge, every moment of life s small pleasures whether it was his showing his affection for his beloved dogs, hearing a good joke, sharing a tall tale, appreciating and respecting our cultural diversity and the heritage of others. Larry McKeon was one of those rare politicians who redeem the profession by truly and faithfully seeing himself as a public servant, who inspire us to believe in our democracy and the ability of people to govern themselves, overcome our differences, strive for that more perfect union, and indeed, embrace life itself. He spoke to the better angels of our nature. Let s pray that we all continue to hear his voice in our thoughts and hearts. Respectfully submitted by Jackie Leavy Former Executive Director of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group

42 Democratic National Committee To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: State Representative McKeon proudly served Illinois constituents for over ten years. He positively represented the Party, and our nation, as the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly. Larry was not only a leader in our nation's government, but also a leader in the field, serving the United States Army. Larry's dedication in promoting education, awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS made him a trailblazer and a hero amongst the LGBT community nationwide. Leading with passion, dignity and honor, he fought for a more fair and just country for all Americans. I join with you in mourning the loss of this courageous human being. Governor Howard Dean Chairman, Democratic National Committee h Dawn Clark Netsch To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Tall and dignified; soft-spoken but spoken with a clear and strong resolve. He knew who he was and where he was going. I don't recall Larry ever complaining about his health problems, even in response to a concerned inquiry. But I certainly recall his complaining if he thought his community, friends, or legislative colleagues were not performing up to his expectations. He understood that it took patience and perseverance just to bring about the first step a human rights amendment. More than anyone, it was his achievement. There could not have been a better "first" in the Illinois General Assembly than Larry McKeon. Beyond all of his contributions, Larry was a warm loving and delightful person, a friend whom I will miss very much. Dawn

43 Illinois State Treasurer To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: Please accept my deepest condolences for the loss of our friend Larry McKeon. It is with great heartfelt sympathy that I write this letter. I never had the pleasure to serve alongside Larry, but my appreciation and admiration of this truly dedicated public servant matches no other. Larry's professions as a police officer, educator, community activist and state representative were filled with tireless, and at many times, thankless efforts to try and improve the world around him. I will always admire his bravery, honesty and determination when he decided to run for the Illinois State Legislature in 1996 as an openly gay HIV positive man. His story serves as an inspiration to all those who seek public office: never forget to be true to yourself and who you are. The Chicago LGBT community should be very thankful to have had such a great state leader who assisted in the efforts to promote your interests. My prayers and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Larry McKeon during this difficult time. His legacy will never be forgotten. Alexi Giannoulias Illinois State Treasurer

44 United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 Dear Family and Friends of Larry McKeon, On May 13, 2008, Illinois lost a courageous and dedicated leader with the sudden passing of our friend Representative Larry McKeon. On behalf of the members of Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UCFW) and working families throughout Illinois, we recognize Representative McKeon for dedicating his life to public service and helping others. The initiatives that he has championed and the progress he has made throughout his career will serve as his legacy as his accomplishment will continue to positively impact the people of Illinois, and beyond, for decades to come. There is no question that Representative McKeon believed fundamentally in justice and equality for all people. In the Illinois House, he fought diligently for the rights of working families: from laws that protect workers against unfair labor practices, to increasing the Illinois minimum wage as Chair of the House Labor Committee, to expanding our laws to prohibit discrimination in employment and housing because of sexual orientation. His activism and determination to make life better for others has always been an inspiration. Throughout his life, Larry McKeon tore down existing barriers and rebuilt pathways of opportunity in their place. He generated greater awareness on so many issues that impact us all; even in retirement he remained a tireless advocate for human rights, health care, and community issues. Representative McKeon's life was full of valor and honor and our lives have been enriched in return. He will truly be missed. Our deepest condolences, Ronald E. Powell President, Local 881 and UFCW International Vice President Steven M. Powell Secretary-Treasurer Local 881 UFCW

45 Office of the Comptroller To the Family and Friends of Larry McKeon: It is with a saddened heart that I offer my deepest sympathies for the loss of my colleague and friend, Larry McKeon. As an Army veteran, a lieutenant of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, a ten-year member of the Illinois House of Representatives, and fierce advocate for the LGBT community, Larry truly devoted his own life to improving the lives of others. His legacy will serve as the finest example of leadership, courage, and inspiration in public service. Larry will always be remembered for his keen ability to strongly advocate on behalf of his constituents, while endearing himself to the opposition. His finest legislative achievement amending the Illinois Human Rights Act to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was a direct result of his hard work and tireless efforts. Most importantly, Larry will be remembered for the courage he demonstrated on a daily basis in the face of the most difficult circumstances. I hope that Larry's loved ones will be comforted in the knowledge that this honorable and noble man will be missed by many. May he rest in eternal peace and may all who grieve for him be comforted in the memory of his spirit. Daniel W. Hynes Comptroller

46 Debra Shore Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District I did not know Larry McKeon well, but I respected him and am grateful for his leadership. It is hard to be a public servant and no doubt it was harder still to be the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly, an honor that brought special scrutiny for sure. When I decided to run for office, I called Larry to ask for his support. Wisely, and characteristically, he did not automatically say yes. Instead he asked to meet with me and asked me a number of probing questions. Larry did not bestow his support without determining that I deserved it, that I had met his standards. I respect him for that, for taking his job seriously and his position of leadership seriously. Let me paraphrase from something Susan Sontag wrote on the occasion of Paul Goodman s death and apply it to Larry: We shall go on grieving that he is no longer alive, and that now we all have to go on in our tumbling attempts to help each other and to say what is true and to release what poetry we have and to respect each other s madness and right to be wrong and to cultivate our sense of citizenliness without Larry s hectoring, without Larry s patient meandering explanations of everything, without the grace of Larry s example. The world, our world, is a better place for having had Larry McKeon in it. He was a contributor. What more can one possibly ask for than to have lived that life? Debra Shore

47

48 Illinois AFL -CIO Executive Board Resolution WHEREAS, Larry McKeon served 11 years in the Illinois General Assembly as a Representative from the 13th District; and WHEREAS, Mr. McKeon was a true advocate for working class-families and fought for their protections and the rights of workers; and WHEREAS, Mr. McKeon served well and with pride as the Chairman of the Illinois House of Representatives Labor Committee; and WHEREAS, Mr. McKeon garnered a 97% favorable, lifetime voting record on Labor's core issues while in the General Assembly; and WHEREAS, Mr. McKeon was always accessible and empathetic to all union members and their families who sought his support; and WHEREAS, Mr. McKeon specifically supported critical, worker friendly legislation like; human rights protections against discrimination, equal pay for equal work, minimum wage increases for low wage workers, wage protections for construction laborers, safety and wage increases for low wage workers, wage protections for construction laborers, safety and wage protections for day laborers, corporate accountability, a ban on forcedlabor goods, a worker's right to organize and join a union, expanded health care for Illinois children, workplace violence prevention, a worker's right to picket, workers' compensation improvements, and unemployment benefits for workers locked out of their jobs by their employers; and WHEREAS, Mr. McKeon supported Illinois AFL -CIO sponsored state Resolutions life: the Employee Free Choice Act and Opposition to the Privatization of Social Security; therefore be it RESOLVED, that the Illinois AFL -CIO Executive Board, representing nearly one-million union members in the state of Illinois, declares that Larry McKeon be praised, thanked, and recognized for his career-long advocacy for worker's rights; and be it further RESOLVED, that the Illinois AFL -CIO will present the Zeke Giorgi Outstanding Illinois Labor Legislator Award posthumously to Larry McKeon at the 2008 Illinois AFL -CIO Constitutional Convention in October in Chicago, Illinois, and that the Illinois AFL -CIO will notify all 1,600 affiliated unions in this state of this award and of Representative McKeon's accomplishments of working families. Executive Board Approved - June 4th, 2008

49 City Council of Chicago Resolution WHEREAS, The Members of this Chamber were deeply saddened to learn of the death on May 13, 2008, at age 63, of Larry McKeon, the former executive director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues and the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly; and WHEREAS, Born on June 30, 1944 in Nampa, Idaho, Mr. McKeon earned a bachelor s degree in political science and a master s degree in public administration from California State University at Los Angeles. A veteran of the United States Army, Mr. McKeon served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Infantry before joining the Los Angeles County Sheriff s Department, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant; and WHEREAS, In the mid-1980s, Mr. McKeon moved to Chicago to pursue a doctoral degree in social service administration at the University of Chicago. After completing his Ph.D. course work and examinations, Mr. McKeon worked as a juvenile justice research project specialist at the University of Chicago; as an assistant dean of the University of Chicago s School of Social Service Administration; as an instructor in the public administration program at Chicago s Roosevelt University; and as a research associate and director of information systems and services for United Charities of Chicago, where Mr. McKeon became actively involved in the gay rights movement and began his storied career as an advocate for Chicago s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) community; and WHEREAS, In 1992, Mayor Richard M. Daley named Mr. McKeon as the executive director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues. Serving until 1996 as Chicago s chief liaison to the LGBT community, Mr. McKeon was instrumental in securing the passage of Chicago s domestic violence ordinance, in helping city officials better understand the needs of the WHEREAS community and in encouraging members of Chicago s LGBT community to join the Chicago Police Department in order to facilitate improved community relations; and WHEREAS, In 1996, Mr. McKeon was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives to represent what is now the 13th District of Illinois on Chicago s North Side. During his tenure in office, Mr. McKeon served as chairperson of the Labor Committee, as vice-chairperson of the Housing & Urban Development Committee, and as a member of the Committees on Aging, Criminal Law, Health Care Availability and Access, Higher

50 Education, and Commerce. He also served as member of the Task Force on Mental Health and Patient Abuse; and WHEREAS, The first openly gay person elected to the Illinois General Assembly, and a man who had no qualms about revealing that he was also HIV-positive, Mr. McKeon worked tirelessly throughout his legislative career to expand gay rights. Owing to Mr. McKeon s leadership, the Illinois Human Rights Act was amended in 2005 to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as housing, lending and employment; and WHEREAS, A quiet man with a thirst for justice and equality for all people, Mr. McKeon was the recipient of numerous accolades and honors, including the prestigious Red Ribbon Leadership Award, the Stonewall Award and the Howard Brown Friend-for-Life Award, as well as awards bestowed by Dignity/Chicago, the Human Rights Campaign, the Howard Brown Health Center and IMPACT Illinois in recognition of Mr. McKeon s outstanding service to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities; and WHEREAS, Following his retirement from the Illinois House of Representatives in 2007, Mr. McKeon moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he served as a volunteer lobbyist for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and indulged his love for fishing and for traveling to state parks all around Illinois and the Midwest; and WHEREAS, A true pioneer and icon of the gay civil rights movement in Illinois, Larry McKeon will always be remembered for his personal and political courage, as a distinguished son of Chicago and as a truly remarkable man; and WHEREAS, Larry McKeon was tragically preceded in death by his sister, Marie and by his longtime partner, Ray Korzinski, and is survived by his two brothers, Gerald and Dennis McKeon; his niece, Jennifer Dobrowolski; his nephew, Jeff Dobrowolski; and by his many friends; now, therefore, WHEREAS, That we, the Mayor and Members of the City Council of the City of Chicago, assembled this eleventh day of June, 2008, do hereby honor the life and memory of Larry McKeon, and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to the family of Larry McKeon as a sign of our sympathy and good wishes.

51 Cook County Board of Commissioners Resolution 08-R-236 RESOLUTION Sponsored by THE HONORABLE MIKE QUIGLEY, COUNTY COMMISSIONER Co-Sponsored by THE HONORABLE TODD H. STROGER, PRESIDENT, WILLIAM M. BEAVERS, JERRY BUTLER, FORREST CLAYPOOL, EARLEAN COLLINS, JOHN P. DALEY, ELIZABETH LIZ DOODY GORMAN, ROBERTO MALDONADO, JOSEPH MARIO MORENO, JOAN PATRICIA MURPHY, ANTHONY J. PERAICA, MIKE QUIGLEY, TIMOTHY O. SCHNEIDER, PETER N. SILVESTRI, DEBORAH SIMS, ROBERT B. STEELE AND LARRY SUFFREDIN, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS IN MEMORY OF LARRY MCKEON WHEREAS, Larry McKeon passed away on May 13, 2008; and WHEREAS, Larry McKeon was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from January 1997 to January 2007; and WHEREAS, for those years, Larry McKeon honorably served the neighborhoods of Ravenswood, Uptown, West Lakeview, North Center, Andersonville, Bowmanville, and West Rogers Park; and WHEREAS, Larry McKeon was the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly and was a leader for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community; and WHEREAS, prior to serving as State Representative, Larry McKeon worked as the Executive Director for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and was Mayor Daley s liaison to the city s gay and lesbian community; and WHEREAS, in his position, he advocated for gay rights and worked closely with local politicians on issues important to the LBGT community; and WHEREAS, in 2005 an amendment was made to the Illinois Human Rights Act banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as employment and housing; and

52 WHEREAS, Larry McKeon considered this amendment one of his greatest achievements as an elected official; and WHEREAS, during his years of public service, Larry McKeon was honored by several LGBT organizations for his work with Dignity/ Chicago, the Human Rights Campaign, the Howard Brown Health Center and Impact Illinois; and WHEREAS, he was also the recipient of a Red Ribbon Leadership Award and a Stonewall Award for his outstanding service to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS community. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners of Cook County does hereby offer its sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Larry McKeon and joins them in commemorating the work of a brilliant man; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this Resolution be prepared and presented to the family of Larry McKeon. Approved and adopted this 3rd day of June 2008.

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