Our Mission

The mission of Plainfield Pride is to promote the idea of equity for Plainfield. We are one community; we will foster a family-friendly, diverse, inclusive, and equal community.   

We will lead the way in the community for all people–regardless of orientation, gender, sex, race, religion, or ability—working to share common values, visions, and goals 

Through the diversity and inclusion certification held by Executive Director Jes McIlvain, we will educate both the general public, the private sector, local governments, schools, and businesses  through paid cultural competency training opportunities.  The training will promote equality for the LGBTQIA+ community, and educate about our  needs, language usage, pronouns, and culture. 

We will advocate for and address community concerns. We will host events that celebrate the history, heritage, and accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community and introduce these lessons into school curricula to be taught year-round. We will  create an environment for advocacy, networking, outreach, support services, and leadership opportunities for LGBTQIA+ people, their families, friends, and co-conspirators. (if we use this word, the paranoiacs will froth at the mouth)

 

Any other activities exclusively for charitable, educational, and research purposes—including, for such purposes—the making of distributions to groups that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code.

 

 

Our Board

Jes McILvain

Executive Director

Jes (she/her) is a stay-at-home feminist, mother of twin girls, wife of Collyn, owner of NotYourBasicTwinMom, and community/political activist. Her background is in political science and LGBTQIA+ studies; she has worked in education where she implemented the multicultural program at her school and as a psychiatry coordinator for a mental health clinic. She is a staunch and passionate advocate for equity and inclusion.

An active member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Jes knows what needs to be developed in this area. She started Plainfield Pride to give an advocate voice to our community, to educate our neighbors and the private sector, and to fight for our representation in the larger community and for acceptance in local schools.

  

Sandy Costa

Trustee

Sandra D. Costa (Foo, she/hers/they) is a lay community minister at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet. She is an artist, activist, healer, writer, and sometime English teacher. She works for social justice and interfaith harmony. She calls herself Pagan. Her theology is the divinity in all of nature; the seasons her liturgical year; her balance in the light and the dark seasons. She is related to and very proud of her gay brother, Jimmy (now deceased); beautiful lesbian daughter, Kate (married); two handsome gay cousins; two gay sons-by-other-mothers; and, she is pleased to be trusted by a number of loving transwomen.

Melissa Gross

treasurer

Melissa (she/her) is a nurse by trade (currently working in research), mother of 3 special needs, neurodiverse children- autistic/adhd identical 5yo boys and a 15yo bonus daughter with adhd and traumatic brain injury. She is married to her best friend, who happens to be a cis male. She enjoys being crafty and artistic and is an avid reader. She identifies as pansexual and has had intimate relationships with cis and bisexual men, women, nonbinary and transgender people. She is a firm believer in love is love and how someone identifies, while deeply personal to them (and matters very much to her), does not impact her ability to love that person. She was an active member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Marquette University while she attended school there. She is passionate about the equality and validation of each and every person and welcomes everyone. She grew up with many gay and bisexual friends and is known to be a person to create a safe space for all. She is also a nondenominational ordained minister and prides herself in being a minister that welcomes performing same-sex, non-binary and transgender marriages. She is very excited to be an active part of Plainfield Pride and spreading knowledge, love and acceptance.

Holly Cowgill

Secretary

Holly (she/her) grew up in Plainfield and was honored to be asked to serve Plainfield Pride as Secretary. She graduated from Plainfield High School when it was the only high school in town. She spent the first decade of her kids (17,16,and 12) lives as a stay at home Mom and had recently returned to the dental field. She looks forward to spreading love and inclusivity to the people of Plainfield.

jason la vAllee

youth services chair

Jason La Vallee (they/them), a proud veteran Plainfield teacher, has taught in Plainfield School District 202 since 2000, and has been a teacher at Plainfield North High School since 2005. As a band director at Plainfield North, Jason has had the privilege of working with, and supporting a large part of Plainfield North’s LGBTQIA+ population. In 2019, the opportunity to sponsor the Gay Straight Alliance at Plainfield North High School opened up, and Jason eagerly embraced the opportunity to further support the LGBTQIA+ students at North.

Jeremy Paige

Diversity chair

Jeremy Paige (He/Him) is a known practicing attorney and currently works with marginalized individuals who are incarcerated.

He is a father of three and enjoys spending time with them. His background is in political science and law. While attending law school he interned with the Boys and Girls Club, which allowed for him to write a conflict-resolution for juveniles that are incarcerated in Cook County.

As an active member of the LGBTQIA+ community, he is the Diversity Chair for Plainfield Pride. He is also the acting President for One Joliet Coalition. Jeremy has a passion for justice and equality forall marginalized communities and uses his knowledge of the law to empower individuals who’s voices have been silenced.

Jessica Vasquez

outreach chair

Jessica grew up in Plainfield and graduated from Plainfield North in 2009. She spent 10 years in violence prevention and crisis work.  After moving into a new career area, Jessica wanted to find new ways to support the community and is so excited to be a part of Plainfield Pride.

In her free time Jessica loves to read, craft, and spend time with her animals. Through her work with Plainfield Pride she hope to spread a message of love for self and others.

tracy ritter

IT Chair / Communications Chair

Tracy (she/her/hers) is a 30+ year IT professional currently working in the financial sector. She and her Navy veteran wife have lived in Plainfield for over 15 years.

She has been highly active in the LGBTQIA+ community for over 25 years. She was one of the co-chairs of the first Joilet PrideFest in 2019. Currently she is a general board member of her company’s PRIDE Employee Networking Group, a 20+ year member of national LGBTQIA+ rights organizations such as HRC, NCLR, ACLU,  and Lambda Legal, a book club committee member for the Golden Crown Literary Society, a new member of PFLAG of Homer Glen/Lockport, as well as co-webmaster, Media Chair and LGBTQIA+ Chair for IL NOW.

In her “free time”, she also volunteers as a Will County Election Judge, works at the USO Center at Midway Airport on Sunday mornings (with the Great Lakes RTC graduates), builds homes with Habitat for Humanity, and performs TNR of feral/stray cats in the Plainfield/Romeovile area.