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5th Ward candidate Calloway discusses past homophobic Facebook posts

Fifth Ward aldermanic candidate William Calloway meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board in December. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Fifth Ward aldermanic candidate William Calloway meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board in December. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A little over a week after old homophobic Facebook posts and comments were dragged into the light, activist and 5th Ward aldermanic candidate William Calloway says he takes full responsibility and accountability for the comments, though he doesn’t “stand by those words anymore.”

“I think an apology here is really really important, but what’s more important that I want to do, convey and come across is my heart and my heart for people and my heart to serve, and I want to continue to serve this city,” Calloway said Sunday at the Hyatt Place Chicago-South/University Medical Center in a meeting he called to discuss the posts. “I’m sorry … I apologize, it was wrong, it was offensive. I said a lot of things even in my teenage years from how I grew up … I had to evolve from that. We have to allow our people … room and space to evolve, to grow.”

The posts were released by Adrienne Irmer, who ran against Calloway and others in the race to replace retiring Rep. Barbara Flynn Curie in the state’s 25th District.

Irmer was endorsed by 5th Ward Ald. Leslie Hairston in that race — Calloway, who was an instrumental figure in getting the shooting video of Laquan McDonald released, is fighting to unseat Hairston April 2.

A post from activist William Calloway from 2015. He is now a candidate for 5th Ward alderman.

In one of the Facebook entries, posted after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Calloway says, “heard an abominable sin was passed nation wide today. If the prophecy serves me correct America should fall at any moment now. Invasions, financial collapses, horrific natural disaster … prepare accordingly.”

One of activist William Calloway’s Facebook posts from 2015. He’s now running to be 5th Ward alderman. | Provided photo

Two days later, Calloway said in a post, “If your pastor didn’t preach against any abominations today that shouldn’t be yo pastor. But then again your pastor might undercover himself. Drops mic*.”

In one comment, Calloway says, “our enemy is not gay marriage or gays, but our enemy is sin and the fruits thereof. That will never change.”

The meeting started a half hour after it was scheduled to start, and a large portion of it was held on background, which meant the press could not quote what community members or the candidate said. Calloway said it was in the hopes of encouraging a safe space.

The on-background, Q&A portion of the meeting was tense at times as residents asked Calloway about the posts and for specifics about what kind of alderman he’d be.

Takala Welch, Calloway’s friend and a member of the LGBT community, said after the meeting she wasn’t shocked by the posts but they haven’t changed how she feels about him.

“People aren’t giving him a chance based on what he said four years ago … We’ve sat and broke bread, he’s come to my daughter’s business,” Welch said. “I’ve got a lot of love and respect from him — a homophobe wouldn’t sit and eat with a gay person … a homophobe wouldn’t ask a gay person’s opinion.”

Later, at a meet and greet for 5th Ward residents Sunday evening, the incumbent Hairston questioned Calloway’s fitness for office.

“You don’t change your views overnight,” Hairston said. “There’s no room for such intolerance.”