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  WINDY CITY TIMES

375,000 estimated at largest pride
by Karen Hawkins
2001-06-27

This article shared 1593 times since Wed Jun 27, 2001
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Up to 375,000 people turned out to watch 255 entries march, float, twirl and "Time Warp" through Sunday's 32nd annual Pride Parade, the largest in the city's history.

"We were pleased," said PrideChicago's Richard Pfeiffer. "It was the 32nd year we didn't get rained out."

Both those who marched in the parade and spectators agreed with the estimates that this year's event was the biggest, with hardly any spots along the route not swarming with people. Pfeiffer said that even the areas that his office usually tells people to set up if they're looking to avoid the crowds were heavily populated.

Depending on whom you ask, the number of spectators at this year's event was anywhere from 325,000 to 375,000. There were 255 entries—up from 248 last year—and 67 floats. Of the entries, 29 represented corporations, including GLBT employee groups within companies.

Corporate participants included: Peapod, Jewel/Osco, Motorola, WXRT, Bank One and Altoids.

There was also the ever-growing array of politicians, including a baton-twirling Maria Pappas, Cook County treasurer, and others.

A coalition of over 100 marchers used the parade as an opportunity to protest the actions of County State's Attorney Dick Devine. Chanting "Who let the pigs off? Dick, Dick Devine" and "Dick Devine, Dick Devine, prosecute police hate crimes," the group lodged itself directly in front of Devine's car carrying signs and banners. After some maneuvering, State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz ended up as a buffer between Devine and the protesters, who were with him for most of the route.

While Pfeiffer said the group's action was the reason for large gaps in the parade, Andy Thayer of the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network ( CABN ) put the blame on Devine.

"It was Devine who held up the parade and not us," Thayer said.

"He didn't want to get too close to us," said Bob Schwartz, also of CABN.

The coalition of protesters was organized by CABN, Queer to the Left, trans/action and Sangat.

Despite criticism from some parade organizers, CABN felt that the protest went well.

"We finally got people to connect with our message," Schwartz said.

In media reports, Devine defended his office, saying he would prosecute cases when the evidence warrants it. CABN and others have noted that Devine has never prosecuted a Chicago police officer for brutality.

"You can't tell me the police department is 100% clean," Thayer said.

This year's throng of anti-gay protesters was set up near the route's end, on Diversey. Among them was a man with a megaphone who yelled pointed remarks at each group or float that went by. At least one group—the mayor's Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues—stopped their car to yell, "Shame!" at the protesters.

Awards this year went to: Boi Magazine, Best All-Around Float; Equality Illinois, Best Organization Float; Hunters, Best Business Float; Bonaventure House, Best Entry Using Theme; McHenry County Pride and Lakeside Pride Freedom Band, Special Parade Award.

Politicians who participated this year were:

U.S. Rep. Rod Blagojevich

Cook County Clerk of Circuit Court Dorothy Brown

Marty Castro, congressional candidate

Judge Tom Chiola

Ald. Vilma Colom

State Sen. John Cullerton

State Rep. Tom Dart

Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine

State Rep. Judy Erwin

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

State Rep. John Fritchey ( D-33rd )

Judge Robert E. Gordon

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Ald. Bernie Hansen

Sheldon Harris, candidate for judge

Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard

Cook County Assessor James Houlihan

State Comptroller Dan Hynes

Judge Nancy Katz

State Rep. Louis Lang

City Clerk James Laski, Jr.

State Sen. Lisa Madigan

Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado

State Rep. Larry McKeon

Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore

Ald. Joe Moore

Hampton, Ill., Mayor Scott Newberg

46th Ward streets and sanitation Superintendent Don Nowotny

State Rep. Harry Osterman ( D-17th )

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas

Judge Sebastian Patti

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley

46th Ward Committeeman Sandra Reed

State Sen. Carol Ronen

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky

John Schmidt, Democratic candidate for governor

Jeff Schoenberg, candidate for state treasurer

Ald. Eugene Schulter

Judge Colleen Sheehan

Ald. Helen Shiller

Joe Slovinec, congressional candidate

State Rep. Cynthia Soto

Secretary of State Jesse White

Ald. Michael A. Wojcik

Governmental agencies included:

Chicago Park District

Chicago Public Art Program, Department of Cultural Affairs

Chicago Department of Public Health

Chicago Transit Authority

Forest Preserve District of Cook County


This article shared 1593 times since Wed Jun 27, 2001
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