Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0955
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of HR0955  98th General Assembly




HR0955LRB098 20630 MST 57424 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are saddened to learn of the death of Vernita
4Gray of Chicago; and
5    WHEREAS, Vernita Gray has dedicated most of her life to the
6struggle for LGBT equality and has served Chicago's gay,
7lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community with
8distinction since the late 1960s; she helped found Chicago's
9first lesbian newspaper, Lavender Women, helped organize the
10City's first Pride Parade, and set-up one of Chicago's first
11gay information hotlines, which she operated out of her
12apartment; she was instrumental in forming the first Lesbian
13Caucus of the nascent Gay Liberation organization in the early
141970s; and
15    WHEREAS, Since 1993, Vernita Gray has aided the LGBT
16community through her work at the Cook County State's Attorney
17office, where she was the LGBT victim-witness coordinator,
18working with victims of hate crimes, domestic violence, and the
19families of homicide victims; after 6 years she was promoted to
20LGBT liaison, where she was responsible for reaching out to
21communities in Cook County; her favorite task was speaking to
22high school students about hate crimes and issues of violence
23in the community, for which she was awarded the Stonewall



HR0955- 2 -LRB098 20630 MST 57424 r

1Award; she led the effort to see that gays and lesbians were
2included in the annual Bud Billiken parade when they had
3traditionally been excluded; and
4    WHEREAS, Vernita Gray worked beside President Barack Obama
5as a member of the LGBT advisory council when he was an
6Illinois State Senator, and she attended the Democratic
7National Convention in Denver and President Obama's
8inauguration in Washington, D.C.; and
9    WHEREAS, Vernita Gray was inducted into the Chicago Gay and
10Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1992 for her efforts as an early leader
11in the gay-liberation movement; and
12    WHEREAS, Vernita Gray married her wife, Pat Ewert, on
13November 27, 2013, becoming the first same-sex couple married
14in Illinois as a result of being plaintiffs in a federal court
15case that allowed the couple to wed early, despite the law not
16going into effect until June 1, 2014; and
17    WHEREAS, Vernita Gray was a Chicago business owner for 11
18years, operating the "Sol Sands" restaurant and a second
19company that develops audio visual materials for children; she
20is a graduate of Columbia College with a degree in writing and
21communications and published "Sweet Sixteen", a volume of her
22own poetry; and



HR0955- 3 -LRB098 20630 MST 57424 r

1    WHEREAS, Later in life, Vernita Gray devoted much of her
2time to bring attention to the issue of aging gays and
3lesbians, which she felt was often overlooked and that there
4was still much work to be done; she served on the Task Force of
5the Aging, the LGBT advisory committee to the AARP, and the
6National Gay and Lesbian Senior Task Force; therefore, be it
9we mourn the passing of Vernita Gray, and extend our sincere
10condolences to her family, friends, and all who knew and loved
11her; and be it further
12    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
13presented to the family of Vernita Gray as an expression of our
14deepest sympathy.