The C.A.A.N. Community Center is a community supported center open to all. There is no agenda. We don't seek corporate money so we are not beholden to any agenda but our own, which is to provide a place for you to be who you are.
February 2014: C.A.A.N. supports Gender Explorers. Currently meeting monthly at UU Church in Joliet.
July 2013: C.A.A.N. & TNT (Teens in Touch) made the decision to close the weekly youth drop-in program. TNT was started in response to schools in the area not having gay/straight alliances. The good news is that over the years they saw benefit of GSAs and once again started allowing them. The young folks who started with TNT at C.A.A.N. "aged out" and there was no need for the younger folks to follow. We were very glad to provide the service when it was needed.
May 2012: C.A.A.N.'s President, Gini Lester, gave a presentation with Rainbow Serenity Group of Northwest Indiana on "Claiming Queer Space in a Blue Collar Town." At the Equality Forum in Philadelphia.
Annually: JJC's World Aids Day Drag Show. C.A.A.N. is a grateful recipient of the proceeds.
February 26, 2011: Russia's LGBT leader Nikolai Alekseev in Chicago.Hosted by Gay Liberation Network, Chicagoland Code Pink, News and Letters and Community Alliance and Action Network (C.A.A.N.) Nikolai Aleeksev began his 7 state tour of the United States. We need to think internationally and work for global progress.
2010: C.A.A.N. was in the Pride Parade, New Board Transitions and December World Aids Day participation.
December 1, 2009: World Aids Day
A stellar performance from the best drag queens in Joliet donned their finest to raise money for 3 organizations in Joliet; C.A.A.N., Regional C.A.R.E. and the Will County Health Department. This was a fun way to raise money to combat such a serious illness that affects EVERYONE. Thank you Joliet Jr. College G.L.O.W. and the Design Club. Save the date for next year.
October 31, 2009: A Ghoulishly Good Time
We picked the best ghoul and George was beyond a doubt the ghoulish ghurl there. Great fun and dancing.
August 29, 2009: Artists of a Different Cloth
An intimate gathering of friends for a show and tell of talents, art and gifts of gab
July 18, 2009: Rally Round Downtown
A first for Joliet as far as we know. About 30 people showed up for the rally in support of lgbt equality. We walked the distance, carrying flags, signs, banners and our pride. We chanted and laughed and in general felt very good about our friends new and old who supported us, even those who couldn't be there. Cars drove by, people waved and blew their car horns in support. Not one single negative comment was heard.
Annually: Pride Parade
May 30, 2009: An Extravant Extravaganza!
The 5th Saturday event began with a picnic and ended with an up-to-the-minute in person update on the civil unions bill by Equality Illinois' Rick Garcia. Rick went above and beyond to make this update extra special, never to be forgotten.
April 9, 2009: C.A.A.N. Congress
Resource list. A dynamic work in progress
January 31, 2009: Rainbow Wonderland.
A variety of people came in for a variety of shows. We had musical performance, a slam poet presentation, games and fun. We came in from the cold to the warmth of friends and family.
January 17, 2009 C.A.A.N. Congress
November 29, 2008 Civil Unions and You
The civil union legislation is called the Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act (HB1826). The Civil Union bill is about fairness and decency. It in no way detracts from traditional marriage; it simply allows those couples in lifetime commitments to receive the dignity, respect, and legal recognition from the State of Illinois that they not only deserve, but they are entitled to.
October 25, 2008 C.A.A.N. Congress
Groups and individuals serving the LGBT and allies community. This is a working congress creating materials for your benefit, whether you're a teacher, social worker or parent of a child who just came out.
October 2, 2008, Take Back the Night
C.A.A.N. was very honored to have have a table at the Joliet Take Back the Night event. Domestic violence affects everyone.
August 30, 2008, C.A.A.N. "Art Night"
This was a 5th Saturday Extravaganza, a kick off and a Fundraiser for our Youth Drop In Center. We are very grateful for the generosity of Little Black Book Productions and the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health. Come to the center and see some of the art work produced that night by those who were there. You can even do a little art of your own while you are there.
July 19, 2008, C.A.A.N. Congress at Lewis University.
Main areas of concern are education, community building, treatment issues, legal issues and political issues. The Congress is an ongoing coalition.
June 29, 2008, The " C.A.A.N. Can " was on the C.A.A.N. Van in the Pride Parade.
We had a blast decorating the can, the van and riding in the parade this year. It didn't matter about the little rain that fell.
photos dave sharp
April 5, 2008, C.A.A.N. Congress at Lewis University.
A Working Mission Statement:
The Congress is community partners
who support the mission of C.A.A.N.
The Congress is an evolving coalition
February 24, 2008,
"TransAmerica, Transgeneration: How We Can Listen and Learn from One Another."
This was a wonderful and eye opening discussion in which Abby Connelly of the State University ofopened up dialog on how different generations could work together and what it meant to us to live in an equal society.
December, Home for the Holidays
Where Fruitcakes are welcome. The December open house was great! We ate and talked and listened to music. Eventually one section of the room organized a game of Uno, while the others played the game, Taboo. By the end of the evening, the whole room was filled with the laughter of friendly competition of playing Taboo.
September 29th, 2007, Same-sex Immigration:
C.A.A.N. had a discussion on same-sex immigration in the United States. It was an eye-opening, informative topic and shocking to learn what happens in our U.S.A.
September 15, 2007, Second Annual Congress on Issues and Needs: Another thought-provoking meeting! Hope you will join us next year; meanwhile, pics in the gallery.
August 19, 2007, First Annual C.A.A.N. Picnic:
It may have been raining cats and dogs, but we still had a fantastic turnout for C.A.A.N's first annual picnic held at Waa Kee Sha Park in Oswego. The Board declared that they will pick a day for next year's picnic that will be sunny and rain free!
June 30, 2007, Growing Up:
Our panel discussion on Growing Up: the psychological and sociological aspects of sexual and gender identity was a HUGE success! We had a panel of people who have heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual orientation and transgender people with various sexual orientations; each presented their story, followed by questions and participation from the diverse audience. align="right" border="0" height="130" width="151">
June 24, 2007: LGBT Pride Parade: C.A.A.N. was entry 77 in the parade so we didn't have to wait long this year before stepping into the narrow street lined with the crowd pressing in to get a string of the pearls we were giving away this year.
We each looked splendid in our brightly colored shirts, but together we were a rainbow, a genuine expression of this year's theme: Unity in Diversity! (More pics in the Gallery!)
Okay, so they weren't pearls, they were plastic mardi gras beads . . . but gems because they had advertising about C.A.A.N.'s June 30th "Growing Up" event. Hope to see you there!
June 9, 2007: UU Pride Picnic/Festival: The second annual Pride Picnic/Festival at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet was great fun. The picnic is a celebration of LGBT Pride and the fact that the church is a welcoming congregation. There was food, music, vendors (including C.A.A.N.), give-aways, families of relations and families of pride.
Our President Around Town:
C.A.A.N. president Tim Pierce talked about the idea of community and social movements at the Aurora PFLAG on July 8th and the DuPage PFLAG on August 19th. Previously, on March 19th, Tim travelled to Amboy to speak to the Sauk Valley PFLAG on the same topic. His speech was well-received by the audience as he talked about how social movements need to attract and mold followers into organized units and they need to be able to get the larger community to accept their message while that larger community is doing what it can to keep the status quo.
Tim spoke at Lewis University on March 16, 2007 to George Miller's Philosophy and Law class about C.A.A.N.
March 31, 2007: Sex Ed. for Parents Event: People braved the storms to hear Jonathon Stacks, from the Illinois Campaign for Responsible Sex Education to talk about the status of sex education in schools. While 1/3 of Illinois' schools do teach responsible sex education, over half stress an abstinence-only until marriage policy, which is highly ineffective and ends up confusing teenagers about the need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases along with unwanted pregnancies. More pics in our gallery.
September 30, 2006: C.A.A.N. Congress on Issues & Needs an Important Step Forward: The C.A.A.N. Congress on Issues and Needs On September 30, 2006 successfully provided a much needed forum for addressing the concerns and hopes of our LGBTQI community, a true step forward in our goal of "Inventing the Future". People from throughout northern Illinois came to Joliet Junior College for a day of discussion on themes such as isolation and community, and what LGBTQI people and allies can do to help bring people together. Check out the pics in our gallery.
We targeted three specific groups, welcoming church congregations, gay friendly therapists, and LGBTQ or LGBTQ-supportive organizations, along with supportive individuals. Participants were grouped based on issues that they perceive to be most pressing for the LGBTQI community and brainstormed the different needs that ought to be addressed. We hope to catalogue the information that is generated from the Congress and distribute it to the participants and other interested parties so that we can continue to address these issues. Feel free to email us if you have any questions or comments about the event.
October 7, 2006: Naperville's Take Back the Night: C.A.A.N. had a table at Naperville's Take Back the Night located at Central Park in downtown Naperville. The event started in Belgium in 1976 when a group of women attending the International Tribunal on Crimes Against Women walked together holding candles to protest the ways in which violence affects women worldwide. Over the years, the focus is on all people who are subjected to violence including LGBT people. The event ended with a parade through the streets of downtown Naperville and a candlelight vigil at the park.
The movie Stonewall and talk by Rick Garcia of Equality Illinois afterwards gave the jolt of adrenaline and courage to keep doing the next right thing. We were able to see not only where we came from but what we are facing.
SB3186 was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich on January 21, 2005, which made Illinois one of only fourteen states that prohibit discrimination in housing, credit contracts, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation.
Now in addition to work on new issues for lgbt individuals such as safe schools, hospital visitation, inheritance rights and bereavement leave we have to defend ourselves against those who would rescind or restrict the non-discrimination bill and introduce legislation like anti-gay adoption bills and constitutional bans on same sex marriage.
Donna Greer at latest Fifth Saturday Extravaganza: Donna Greer from Chicago Gender Society and Island Girls came to C.A.A.N.'s Fifth Saturday Extravaganza on September 30th to talk about issues related to the transgender community. It was a very lively discussion from her and the audience as we talked about how transgendered people are misunderstood and are maligned in today's society.
C.A.A.N. First Music Pride Festival is a Rousing Success: Maneuvers was hopping Saturday evening as the upstairs was packed with patrons listening to C.A.A.N.'s first ever pride music festival. The event was hosted by Daunn Turner who emceed the event and sang songs between sets and featured performers J. D., Lisa Danielson, ChicagoRo, and Ms. Sable Coat.
A 50/50 raffle was held and the winner won $50 of the pot with the rest of the money going to C.A.A.N. A charcoal painting by C.A.A.N. member Yee Lee was auctioned off with that money going to C.A.A.N. as well. Lots more pics will be in our gallery, coming soon!
Fifth Saturday Extravaganza with the Gay Love Coach: Brian Rzepczynski gave a talk about how to find your life partner. A lot of his presentation focused on getting people to figure out what they require in a relationship and how to find a person that meets them, as a relationship will more than likely fail if the person you're dating does not meet one of the requirements. He also mentioned that being in a relationship is finding the right balance between the brain, the heart, and the libido.
C.A.A.N. at the Pride Parade, June 25, 2006:
C.A.A.N. had a great turnout for Chicago's Pride Parade that was held on June 25th. The rain cleared up just as we were getting ready to start, and it was great to hear people from the crowd who recognized us as we were walking down the street! We're already looking forward to next year's parade.
Community Alliance and Action Network and Guardian Angel Community Services discussed needed services for those who are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse whether in same sex relationships or not. View our press release on this collaborative effort, and check out Guardian Angel's own website. Getting the help you need is the issue; your gender, gender identity or sexual orientation isn't.
Les, Bi and Straight Women Got Down With Safer Sex, June 3, 2006: Christina Santiago, Women's Health Patient Navigator from the Lesbian Community Cancer Project at Howard Brown Health Center, had an informative presentation about Safer Sex for women who are intimate with women and for straight women who want variety with their male intimate partners.
There are very few studies done on woman to woman transmission of HIV/STDs but in one of the few studies available it was found that human papilloma virus (HPV) DNA was present in 19% of lesbians who reported no previous sex with men. Some HPV strains can trigger the development of abnormal cells associated with cervical cancer. Some types can cause genital warts.
And HPV was just the tip of the iceberg. After we found out why women should practice safer sex we discussed details from alternatives to use if one is allergic to latex to where we can get the best barriers. Some online resources on health issues include HowardBrown.org, LCCP.org, and MautnerProject.org.
Community Alliance and Action Network extends helping hand to students at Oswego High School who were denied a Gay/Straight Alliance at the high school. Letters were sent to the Ledger-Sentinel, Oswego High School, and Oswego East High School. View our letter to the editor of the Ledger. We invite your comments.
Gay Games Uniform Try-on Party, May 6th, 2006: Gay Games Chicago and Team Chicago visited C.A.A.N. for a wine, cheese, and uniform try-on party at the center on Friday, May 6th. People had a chance to meet each other, spend some time chatting, and see, try on, and order the uniforms that will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies for Gay Games Chicago. People who were not able to make it can order the uniform from the Team Chicago website (teamchicago.org). Instructions on opening and closing ceremonies can be found on the Gay Games website (http://www.gaygameschicago.org/ceremonies/lineup.php).
C.A.A.N. hosts Poetry Slam with George David Miller, April 29, 2006: With his bright orange shirt, shoes, tie, and belt (well - his youngest daughter's belt that he "stole from her closet this morning!") in place, George David Miller began his familiar "loud and obnoxious" poetic symphony of comedy, frantic body language, and his continuing battle, for his own daughter, against a society with a message of hate, "because it's wrong for the weight of the world on the shoulders of a fifteen-year-old kid." Whether it was a laugh or a deeper message that George David Miller was trying to portray to his audience, it was an all-in-all good time and C.A.A.N. thanks Mr. Miller for leading our Poetry Slam.
Tying the Knot Movie Night, April 1, 2006:
Nice turnout to watch and discuss Tying the Knot, a film that looks at the debate of same-sex marriage, and to enjoy the wonderful food that people had brought for the potluck. President Tim Pierce said:
"This film really gets you to think about how marriage really has been redefined throughout the ages to fit the needs of society from marrying for survival or for the exchange of property to marrying for love. When politicians use the same arguments about same-sex marriage as they used for interracial marriage, they begin messing with real people's lives. Instead of scapegoating a segment of the population, we should be looking at how these people want to strengthen marriage for all. When you see real people who are looking to protect their love ones when they pass away and they can't even do that, it really does begin to point out the inequities that our society has placed on people."Leave No Family Behind! March 25, 2006:
62 people attended "Leave No Family Behind, a community based discussion on marriage equality, access to benefits, and the everyday obstacles faced by gay and lesbian families. The event was proudly sponsored by Community Alliance and Action Network along with ACLU Illinois, Lambda Legal Defense, Equality Illinois, Prairie Flame, Universalist Unitarian Churches of Joliet and DuPage, PFLAG DuPage, and Protestants for the Common Good, and was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Joliet. This event was one of a series being held across the state so that people can hear from same-sex couples about what they face in living their lives together.
Fun note: For those who asked, here's Dorothy's "LT's5B casserole" recipe!
First Saturday PotLuck and Movie Night a hit! March 4, 2006:
Our first First Saturday Potluck and Movie Night was great; if you were here, it was good seeing you, and if you missed it, check our calendar for future events. Here's a quick summary from president Tim Pierce:
"I had a great time socializing and meeting new people and even seeing friends who have not been around for a while. The film, Put the Camera on Me, was wonderful. Imagine being a child in the 1980s, having access to a movie camera, and filming short movies on homosexuality, nuclear war, the holocaust, etc., all from a child's perspective. What I liked is how the people in the film--almost 20 years later--talk about these movies. If you missed it, you can check it out for yourself at the center; C.A.A.N. members can check out films for 2 weeks at no charge."
C.A.A.N. Community Center Opening a Grand Success! February 4, 2006:
Thank you to all who came to C.A.A.N.'s open house on February 4, 2006 though the weather was cold and snowy. A great turnout showed up throughout the day and evening to view the offices and the art work, enjoy delicious food and drink, listen to the wonderful music that Kara and Lisa performed, watch and discuss the movie, and pick up information about C.A.A.N. and LGBTQ resources in the area.
The theme of the dedication was "A Vision Toward the Future". It was hard to imagine a year ago that we would be at an open house for a LGBTQ community center in downtown Joliet. Yet, in that time, a very dedicated board and core group of volunteers have worked so hard to get C.A.A.N. to where it is today, and here we are! And while we're still a small group, we believe that together we will grow in size, outreach and influence.
Check out a slideshow of pics from the Opening; a great time was had by all!
October was Coming Out Month! C.A.A.N. celebrated with some special events, introducing us to the community.
Take Back the Night: October 1 and 4, 2005:
C.A.A.N. was a proud participant in Naperville�s Take Back The Night Rally. At the first, we had a lot of people stop by our booth that was shared with Neuqua Valley's Gay Straight Alliance. Beyond having the booth at the event, C.A.A.N. members participated in the parade through downtown Naperville carrying signs and chanting various slogans. After the parade, there was a candlelight vigil where C.A.A.N. members sang songs as a touching end to a very powerful day.
At Joliet's Take Back the Night on October 4 at Joliet West High School, several members took part in marching by carrying signs of people who have been victims of domestic violence.
2003 Illinois State Police statistics show the seriousness of the problem for towns in C.A.A.N. Joliet�s service area, with 305 rapes and 1622 assaults reported in those communities alone. We were proud to show our support for this effort to Take Back the Night!
DuPage PFLAG Poetry Slam: October 16, 2005:
PFLAG DuPage hosted their first poetry slam and C.A.A.N. was there. Held at at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wheaton, there were over 20 people there on a Sunday afternoon to hear George do his poetry. It doesn't do justice to call it a �poetry reading�; rather, it was a poetry performance, with George getting the audience involved and even writing.
Fish Can�t Fly� at C.A.A.N., October 22, 2005:
Tom Murray, director and producer of the documentary Fish Can�t Fly, appeared in Joliet at Hope United Methodist Church at a C.A.A.N. event to celebrate Coming Out Month. The screening of the film was followed by a discussion with Tom.
24 people came out to attend the event even though the White Sox were in their first World Series since 1959! The film was touching and the discussion with Tom Murray, Shawn O'Donnell, and Xavier was heartfelt and continued for over an hour.
The film is about the personal stories of people who struggled with their sexuality and religion by attending �ex-gay� ministries only to discover that one truly cannot become an �ex-gay.� The strongest point of the evening is the idea that people take different paths to get them to where they are today. Regardless of their path, a person can be LGBT and still realize that God still loves her or him for who they are. The belief that one can change their sexual orientation is damaging and we need to find ways of thinking that are more accurate and self-affirming.
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