Skip to Main Content


  1. Home
  2. news


For all current department news events, you can also visit us on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook link at the top of this page.

  • You're invited to recognize the nominated winners at the...
          star ICED AWARDS (Interagency Committee on Employees with Disabilities)
    (May 20, 2014)
  • A Taste of Soul: An interactive conversation exploring the history
    of African American culture and cuisine

    February 27th, 2014 11:15 a.m.  -  12:15 p.m.

    James R. Thompson Center, 9th Floor, Room 9-031, Chicago

    Celebrate Black/African American History Month with us!  The Illinois Department of Human Rights is proud to present this educational event and soul food tasting with Ms. Donna Battle Pierce, Contributing Editor for Upscale Magazine.  Ms Pierce will present on her love for soul food and her passion for researching family recipes that link us to both our heritage and future.  She will focus her talk on the African American perspective.  Ms Pierce is former Assistant Food Editor and Test Kitchen Director for The Chicago Tribune, and Founder and blogger of and where she shares a variety of recipes and writes about their background stories.  Soul food tastings provided by locally owned SNG Catering(website under construction) will accompany the presentation.  For event planning/catering by SNG, contact the owner Marcie A. Younger.

    In addition, IDHR will be compiling an electronic

    "IDHR Family Cookbook"
    to be shared with Ms. Pierce and all attendees. 

    If you are interested in sharing your family recipe, please submit your recipe by February 20th via email to  All are invited to participate no matter your race, ethnicity or national origin.  Photos of your family or dish may be attached to your submission.  Attendance at the event is not required in order to participate in the cookbook.

    Register at:  IDHR-TasteOfSoul
    Questions?   Please call:  312-814-6278

    (February 27th, 2014)

  • The Illinois Department of Human Rights celebrated International Human Rights Day by highlighting the work of six local LGBT civil rights leaders who shared their experiences with a wonderful audience on Friday, December 13, 2013 at the agency sponsored event, "Human Rights:  More than a Movement."  The event culminated with a special American Sign Language interpretive dance performance by Phyl Shisha Thomas, a freelance sign language interpreter and community advocate.  The LGBT civil rights leaders were recognized for their dedication and commitment to advancing human rights and equal opportunity in Illinois.

    Human Rights Day

    Honorees included:

    Rick Garcia, Policy Director, The Civil Rights Agenda
    Owen Daniel-McCarter, Legal Director and Staff Attorney, TransLife Center-Chicago House
    Kim Hunt, Executive Director, Affinity Community Services
    Dalila Fridi, Board Chair, Equality Illinois Education Project
    Rocco J. Claps, Director, Illinois Department of Human Rights

    For more event photos, please Join Us On Facebook.
    (December 13, 2013)

  • Governor Pat Quinn on Wednesday put his signature on a historic measure making Illinois the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage, capping a 40-year push for gay rights that picked up major momentum during the past decade.

    Playing master of ceremonies during an hourlong event, the Governor slowly signed the bill with 100 pens that quickly became souvenirs.  He did so at a desk shipped from Springfield that the administration said President Abraham Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address in 1861 - a speech on the cusp of the Civil War that called on Americans to heed "the better angels of our natue."

    "In the very beginning of the Gettsburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln of Illinois said that our nation was conceived in liberty.  And he said it's dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, and that's really what we're celebrating today," he said.  "It's a triumph of democracy."

    Gay Marriage Law Signing Ceremony Attending the ceremony:  Pictured (from L to R) IDHR Chief Legal Counsel - Lon Meltesen, Deputy Director - Bobbie Wanzo, Director - Rocco Claps, and Chief, Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs - Hector Villagrana.
    (November 20, 2013)

  • Look for IDHR's fair housing poster on CTA buses and trains during the month of November.  See it in English, Spanish, Polish or Chinese.

    Fair Housing CTA poster
    (November 15, 2013)
  • Fourteen individuals and two organizations will be inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the country's only known government-sponsored hall of fame that honors members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.

    The chosen nominees will be inducted at the Hall of Fame's annual ceremony, which will take place from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 North Clark Street, Chicago.  A reception begins at 5:30pm, and the program is scheduled for 6 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.

    Hall of fame inductees fall into one of three categories:  "individual," "organization," or "friend of the community."  Nominees represent all of Chicago's sexual-minority communities, including LGBT Chicagoans, past, present, living, and dead, as well as those who have supported or assisted them.

    Among those honored in 2013 is Rocco J. Claps, Director, Illinois Department of Human Rights.

    Director Rocco Claps Rocco J. Claps (pictured left), for public service in political and government roles as an openly gay man and for advancing LGBT rights goals.  He began on Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's staff in 1987, worked in federal and Democratic National Committee positions during the Clinton administration, and since 2003 has been Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights.

    Beginning with the first ceremony in 1991, Mayor Richard M. Daley personally participated in the Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies.  Current Mayor Rahm Emanuel has continued to do so.

    The Hall of Fame's purpose is to recognize the achievements of LGBT Chicagoans, their contributions to the development of the city, and the help they have received from others.  In 2013, it holds its 23rd annual induction ceremony and continues to represent an official recognition by Chicago's government of the city's LGBT residents and their allies.
    (November 12, 2013)

Privacy Statement  |  Web Accessibility  |  DHR Outlook Login  |  Contact IDHR