The 30th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee of Proud Black Lesbians and Gays celebrated the original Ad Hoc Committee of Proud Black Lesbians and Gays and members of the LGBTQIA+ community who in 1993 actively participated as a parade contingent in the Bud Billiken Parade, the oldest African-American parade and one of the largest parades in the United States.
Affinity Community Services hosted the event Sunday, Nov. 5, including a screening of two documentaries and a panel moderated by original marcher Lisa Marie Pickens and Affinity Executive Director Latonya Maley.
The group applied to march in 1993 and was initially denied due to "capacity," but the group had additionally submitted a second identical application not mentioning "Gay or Lesbian" which was accepted. The group, with help from Lambda Legal, filed suit alleging discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and mounted a very public campaign to march. Because of their public fight, they were successful and took their rightful place in the parade.
Also attending the event was former chair of the city's Commission on Human Relations Clarence Woods.
Filmmaker, business owner and activist Mary Morten also attended and screened her film about the 1990s Chicago Black LGBTQ community, Out of the Shadows.
Local filmmaker Magdiel Carmona interviewed a number of the original 1993 Ad Hoc Committee parade participants over the summer and has just completed a short film, Why We Marched: Black LGBTQs & The 1993 Bud Billiken Parade, which he debuted at the event.
Panelists, including several members of the 1993 contingent, discussed both the decision to march in the Bud Billiken Parade and its implications for and against Chicago's Black LGBTQIA+ community. Jano Layne, Karen Hutt, Robert Schultz III and Lisa Marie Pickens represented those who marched.
Justice (Jayy Jayy), Lil Tree nd Ermalshara represented the younger generation of Black LGBTQIA+ advocates / activists, and explained ways that the older generation can help them in their vital work.
Event co-sponsors were The 30th Anniversary Ad Hoc Committee of Proud Black Lesbians and Gays, Affinity Community Services, ARISE Consulting Inc, Carmona Producxions, PrideIndex.com, and Radical Healing Lab.