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Justice, Inc. records

Identifier: L737

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographs, newsletters, ephemera, event programs, and a VHS tape from Justice, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from 1986 to 1992, regarding the organization and the local and state LGBTQ+ community. One item is a plaque given to Stephanie Turner, president of Justice, Inc. (1989-1992), on November 8, 1992 from Justice, Inc. acknowledging her work on behalf of the gay and lesbian community.


  • 1986-1992


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Administrative History

Justice, Inc. was founded in 1981 as an Indiana "civil rights advocacy organization for lesbians and gays," with the goal of connecting over 30 queer-oriented organizations across the state. The organization grew organically from conversations at the first statewide pride event in Indiana, a brunch at the old Essex Hotel in Indianapolis. The queer community saw a need for an umbrella organization to convey information between small community groups, communicate with the public, and act as their voice in the state legislature. Justice, Inc. fought to amend the state's civil rights code to include the words "sexual orientation" and other civil rights legislation. The founding president of the organization was Kathy Sarris, who served until 1986 and returned to the role by 2003. The organization was governed by a 12-member board of directors which included a balanced number of men and women from around the state to ensure fair representation. Other presidents, with approximate dates in office, included Dan McNeely (1987-1989; 1994-1995), Stephanie S. Turner (1989-1992); and Wally Painter (1992-1993; 1996-2001).

Justice, Inc. planned statewide media campaigns and represented the queer community in the press. It also coordinated voter registration drives, lobbied the Indiana General Assembly for equal rights protection, held educational workshops and other events, published pamphlets and a quarterly newsletter, and worked closely with other organizations, such as the Indiana Civil Rights Association, Indiana AFL-CIO, and the Indiana State Nurses Association. The organization also took up advocacy for people affected by AIDS as the epidemic grew in the mid-1980s. The Justice, Inc. office was located at 1537 North Central Avenue in Indianapolis and moved to 1534 East 10th Street in 1987.

After that first statewide pride event in 1981, Justice, Inc. sponsored a series of annual "Gay Pride Brunches," growing to a few hundred attendees each year. Two awards were also given at the annual gatherings: The Hoosier Human Dignity Award, honoring outstanding service to the gay and lesbian community, and the Works Community Service Award, offered by The Works News to recognize commitment to the gay civil rights movement in Indiana. The final brunch was held at the Atkinson Hotel in Indianapolis in 1986. It was supplanted by the "Hoosier Hoedown at the Lavender County Fair" the following year. The new event, held at Rick's Cafe at Riley Towers, committed to its county fair theme with food, fundraising, dress, and games. The 1988 event occurred at the IUPUI sports complex, followed by the Pride Celebration at Westlake Park in 1989, the theme of which was "Stonewall: 20 Years of Gay/Lesbian Pride" and boasted over 1,000 attendees.

The previous year's success prompted the organization to hold the first truly large-scale, public pride celebration in Indiana. It was called "Celebration on the Circle" and held on June 30, 1990 on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. The next two pride week celebrations hosted by Justice, Inc. were held on Monument Circle in 1991 and University Park in 1992. The organization continued to host its own annual pride celebrations for several years, despite the start of Indy Pride, Inc. in 1995. The two organizations held separate pride events for during those years, but began negotiating to combine their yearly pride events in 1999, with the first combined festival occurring in 2002. Between 1992 and 2012, attendance at the Indiana pride festival grew from 3,000 to 80,000.

By the mid-1990s, the organization expanded its traditional dichotomy of gay and lesbian to include bisexual and transgender people in its representation and goals. Justice, Inc. moved away from hosting annual pride events to focus more on achieving its mission, mainly amending the Indiana constitution to allow for same-sex marriage and the state civil rights laws to protect against discrimination based on either sexual orientation or gender identity. To that end, Justice, Inc. organizers founded Indiana Equality, another 501(c)(4) coalition to achieve those legislative goals, in 2003. Justice, Inc. itself appears to have petered out or merged into the new organization by 2006.


Items in the collection.

Evans, Tim. "A Growing Acceptance: But Push for Equality Continues." Indianapolis Star, June 15, 2003. Accessed May 9, 2022. ProQuest.

Indy Pride, Inc. "History of Pride." Accessed May 6, 2022.

"Indiana Equality." Created April 2008. Accessed June 30, 2022.

Jeffrey Huntington collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library.

Poletika, Nicole. "From 'Gay Knights' to Celebration on the Circle: A History of Pride in Indianapolis." Indiana History Blog, October 5, 2021. Accessed May 6, 2022.

Sarris, Kathy. Telephone interview by Brittany Kropf. June 13, 2022. [Notes from interview in collection administrative file.]

Turner, Stephanie. "Gay and Lesbian Pride: It's Place in Hoosier History." Celebration on the Circle: Official Pride Guide. June 29, 1991. Indianapolis: Heartland, 1991.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Stephanie S. Turner on 2021/02/02.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

L198: Jeffrey L. Huntington collection

L747: Northeast Indiana Diversity Library collection

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2022/05/11 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 02022/05/11 by Brittany Kropf.


Justice, Inc. records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.