CHICAGO (March 19, 2015) – Today, in response to the confirmation in the Illinois Senate of Rev. James Meeks as Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education, the coalition of several prominent state organizations that lead efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion for Illinois youth released the following statement:

It is a hard day in Illinois when a person who has repeatedly expressed contempt and disgust for LGBT people, women, Asian Americans, Latinos, Jewish Americans and other vulnerable minority groups can be confirmed to lead the Illinois State Board of Education. He has said publicly that LGBT people are ‘not natural’ and that people who are part of this community are ‘an evil sickness.’ And, his life-threatening anti-choice views place our children at risk. We must all work together to support and protect all children.

Despite over 200 witness slips in opposition of Meeks’ appointment, the Illinois Senate rushed through the process and has now placed a divisive person with dangerous world views at the head of the state’s education board, making all children in Illinois vulnerable to harm.

We’d like to thank Senator Steans and Senator Delgado for speaking against the nomination of Rev. Meeks on the Senate floor and standing for the safety of young people across Illinois.

As organizations united against divisiveness and for fairness, we pledge to hold the Rauner Administration accountable for ensuring that Rev. Meeks and all the members of the State Board of Education work for all students – regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, religion, gender identity/expression, disability status and are all afforded safe learning environments.

The state-wide coalition is comprised of over 35 organizations representing the LGBT community, people of color, people of faith, education professionals, women and many other organizations.

For a full list, see: