Bench battle

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By Historical Society

The bus bench at Circle Ave and Roosevelt Road was subject to a message battle in 1992.  The bench, owned by Wright Advertising Corporation, had a biblical passage warning that "homosexual perverts" among others, would not "inherit God's kingdom."  
In response, the Circle Theatre, rented the advertising space on the bench and changed the message encouraging people to reach out to Community Response, an agency that focused on helping people with AIDS and HIV to lead a life of enhanced quality.  The group assisted with counseling, transportation, hospice and basic needs like rent and meals.  
  Circle Theatre director Karen Skinner, with the support of CAMEO (Chicago Area Mens' Enrichment Organization) decided to take matters in their own hands and make a positive message out of a negative one.  In September, 1992, Karen Skinner shared "I figured if the bench could incite this much negative publicity, it had the same potential to incite positive action about the issue of AIDS."

For more historical images and stories along Circle Ave:

Near Circle Avenue and Harlem 1979 click here.

Famous Liquors Circle and Madison in the 1990's.  click here.

Circle Video on Madison and Circle in 1981.  Click here.

Circle Soap Box Derby over the years. Click here.

Circle Avenue 100 years ago click here.



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Leah Ann Shapiro  

Posted: August 13th, 2020 12:31 PM

Thank you Karen Skinner. My son and daughter were in many productions at Circle when we moved to O.P. in 1992. Jeff was the only student in Pirates. The production of Hair was better than any I had seen including the original. Kevin and John are so talented and were so supportive to Sheron and Jeff. We miss Circle.

Karen Skinner from River Forest  

Posted: August 7th, 2020 1:56 PM

It's perfect that I see this today on Wayne Buidens birthday. Wayne was a the co founder of Circle Theatre, and today is his birthday. He passed away in 1993. Another co-founder, Joe Bass, died in 2000. I remember the pulsing need to change the message on that bench, and how desperately Circle wanted to change so much!

Tom Gull  

Posted: August 7th, 2020 5:49 AM

Thank you Karen Skinner

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