To the Editor:
Last week, I attended the candidate forum for State Representative in District 115 sponsored by the Rainbow Café and Equality Illinois. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. While all four candidates were invited to participate and meet with constituents, Tamiko Mueller was the only candidate who accepted. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend due to a death in the family. Paul Jacobs declined the invitation and Terri Bryant and Marsha Griffin didn’t even bother to respond. One can’t help but think that because the forum was sponsored by a minority group representing LGBTQIA residents of southern Illinois, these candidates chose to marginalize these voters as unimportant and evidently having nothing worth hearing.
I could certainly go on about homophobia but there is something even more profound about their absence. As elected representatives/candidates, it was my assumption that they sought to represent all of their constituents and not just the ones that are palatable or worse yet, agree with them. While they may not support the LGBTQIA youth that are the Rainbow Café, these young people were reaching out to learn about our democracy and prepare themselves as future voters. They may not be able to vote in our upcoming primary and November election, but their parents, family and friends certainly do and I hope they remember this insult when they go to the polls on March 20 and Nov. 6.