A fearless power duo, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and comedic actress and writer Wanda Sykes joined forces for the Chicago House Speaker Series Sept. 14 at the Hilton Chicago. Hosted by Chicago House and Social Service Agency, the signature event is known for its noteworthy headliners, including former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, award-winning actor Whoopi Goldberg, designer Kenneth Cole, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and more.
Rippon made history as the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to medal during a Winter Olympics at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Sykes, “one of the funniest stand-up comics,” was most recently nominated for her work on ABC’s “Black-ish.” Sykes is also the recipient of a GLAAD media award.
Both Rippon and Sykes are prominent figures and inspiring voices in the LGBTQ+ community.
Themed “Authentic Selves,” the event revolved around individuals sharing personal stories and experiences — both uplifting and emotional. Chris Hush of NBC Chicago was the emcee for the day, leading both the roundtable discussion and paddle raise auction. With more than 400 people in attendance, nearly $168,000 was raised for Chicago House, which “serves individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV prevention services, legal services, and other supportive programs.”
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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.