ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Rockford on Wednesday touted its perfect score on a Human Rights Campaign index rating on the basis of laws and policies in favor of LGBTQ people who live and work in the city.
The HRC released its annual 2022 Municipal Equality Index scorecard and Rockford earned a score of 100/100. It is a measure of how LGBTQ-friendly the city is. The scorecard is broken down into five categories that grades cities on their inclusivity.
“We’ve done a lot of work, and truthfully we still have more work to be done, but we are really excited to have that perfect score,” Mayor Tom McNamara said. “I’m proud of the work that we as a community have done, I’m really proud of the work that our city staff has done,” McNamara said. “It’s something that we’re just going to have to continue to maintain and continue to build off.”
The ratings are based on laws and policies in favor of LGBTQ people who live and work in the city. Rockford has adopted non-discrimination laws, including transgender inclusive health care benefits.
The city has also established a community relations commission and created liaisons for the Rockford Police Department and City Hall.
“For our citizens, we want to make sure that we continue to be more welcoming. You can look at things such as Davis Park and you don’t immediately think of it as something that impacts welcoming, inclusion and belonging, but it absolutely does,” McNamara said. “We want our downtown, and the entire city, to be a place that no matter where you’re coming from or what your background is, you feel welcome right then and there.”
McNamara added that it has been a journey. Rockford received a failing grade of 59 out of 100 back in 2017.
“We have a long way to go, but we have accomplished a lot,” McNamara said. “I mean, to go from a failing grade to a perfect score in five and a half years is really pretty remarkable. We’re thrilled to be among a unique group and a select few municipalities throughout the entire country who have that perfect score.”
A total of 118 cities earned a perfect score. That is up from 110 in 2021.