Awake Americans’ membership in the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce is under consideration due to its affiliation with Awake Illinois, a Naperville-based organization. The group has been criticized for its stance on transgender and gay issues and its opposition to suburban drag events.
Awake Americans was founded in late April as a tax-exempt affiliate of Awake Illinois by Naperville resident Shannon Adcock. The group was welcomed as a new Chamber member this month.
NACC Chairman and CEO Kaylin Risbold said in an email that some Chamber members questioned Awake Americans’ membership in the organization, and that the issue was “recommended.” is in,’ he said.
“NACC leadership takes the concerns of its members and the community very seriously and any comments shared are carefully considered,” the chamber said in a statement posted on multiple social media platforms. .
Awake Illinois campaigned politically during spring local elections, particularly elections involving school boards, to block drag shows at the Uprising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills. Launched several campaigns, including targeted campaigns.
In a Twitter comment about the show, the group said it “condemns this perversion” and cautioned:They’re picking up your kids, McHenry County“
In another campaign, Adcock attended a meeting of the Downers Grove Public Library Commission to speak out against drug bingo night, an event that was eventually canceled.
American Civil Liberties Union Illinois spokesman Ed Yonka said he helped two suburban residents who were threatened with defamation lawsuits for publicly criticizing the Awake Illinois organization and its policies.
In response to the lawsuit, ACLU attorney Rebecca Glenberg wrote, “Wake up, Illinois and its leaders frequently accuse their opponents of nefarious motives and actions, accusing them of ‘groomers,’ ‘hateful’ and ‘perverts.’ ‘, ‘Criminal lying’ and other hostile adjectives.” This bastard,”—to characterize those who disagree with them. But when others express their outspoken opinions about Awake Illinois, they respond by demanding silence. “
Yonka said Awake Illinois’ attempt to crack down on voices that disagree with them “seems strange for an organization that claims to defend the right to free speech.”
In the purest sense, this is “free speech for me, but not for you,” he said.
The Naperville Chamber of Commerce is a private organization and has the right to set rules for membership, but they must apply equally to everyone, Yonka said.
NACC members include families, communities, civic groups, governments, educational organizations and individuals, as well as various corporations and business ventures. Religious groups and elected officials are also members.
Adcock hopes Awake Americans will have a more national focus, drawing people from all over the country to its campus, which is headquartered on the second floor of the Citygate Center near Route 59 and Interstate 88. He said he was.
“We hold public events to empower citizens about their First Amendment free speech and constitutional rights,” she said. Empowering people with non-profit advocacy… we’re really achieving both goals. “
The new non-profit will celebrate its launch on June 12th with an event titled “Woke 101: Is Marxism in America?” at the Hotel Arista in Naperville.
Adcock said it will be the first of many events.
Speakers and guests will not only be staying at the hotel, but will also be dining and soaking up all that Naperville has to offer.
“This is a huge win for Naperville commerce and we are happy to support it,” Adcock said.
As an organization with 501(c) (3) status, Awake Americans has tax-exempt status and is prohibited from focusing on a single candidate or political party. In contrast, Awake Illinois has 501(c) (4) status, which means it is not tax exempt and can donate to and lobby political candidates and parties.
Adcock has been a lightning rod for controversy before. When it became known last year that she was being considered as a candidate for the city of Naperville’s Special Events and Cultural Facilities Commission, critics of her political views were too extreme in social media posts and newspaper letters. , voiced their opposition through comments at the City Council. .
Ultimately, her nomination was dropped from consideration.