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Another Sponsor Withdraws from Festival

2007-06-27 Windy City Times - LINK

The University of Chicago will no longer sponsor Chicago’s African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, to be held July 4 in Washington Park, 5500 S. Cottage Grove.

The academic institution now joins local TV station NBC-5 as former backers of the festival.

However, the institution’s withdrawal had more to do with not being aware of its name on the sponsor list than with a reaction to a perceived social injustice. When responding to an e-mail from Gay Liberation Network’s Bob Schwartz—who discussed Banton’s homophobic songs—U. of C. President Robert J. Zimmer wrote, “The University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Hospitals are not sponsors of the festival and are being removed from the list of sponsors on the festival Web site, a list on which we were included without our agreement.”

To put pressure on others associated with the festival, the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues has sent letters to Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle ( who heads the ward where the festival will take place ) ; Mayor Richard Daley; and Timothy J. Mitchell of the Chicago Park District expressing the group’s “opposition” to Banjon’s appearance.


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