In an effort to increase interactions between Chicago Dyke March and its host community this year, the Chicago Dyke March Collective held what will be the first of two meetings in Uptown May 12. (The other has not been scheduled.)
The two-hour meeting at the Bezazian Library focused on issues of race, youth, queer community and privilege.
Dyke March is scheduled to pass though Uptown's Argyle Street, which houses a large community of South and East Asian businesses and organizations, in June.
Uptown is the third neighborhood to host the march since organizers decided to relocate the event from Andersonville to neighborhoods across Chicago. The march moves every two years now in an effort to highlight the presence of queer people throughout the city.
Collective member Joy Messinger noted that the change was made "to raise resistance and create visibility within those communities [where Dyke March is held]."
However, some have lamented in recent years that the march's engagement with those communities has remained limited.
The 2011 Dyke March in the South Shore neighborhood ended with a picnic and rally in Jackson Park, which some argued was isolated from the South Shore community. The march has also been held in Pilsen.
Organizers said Saturday's discussion was meant to provide an opportunity for conversation with the surrounding community.
"Here in Chicago, we are really committed to moving across different communities," said Emilia Chico, a Dyke March Collective member.
Chico noted that the collective made the decision to hold the march for two consecutive years in a neighborhood so that marchers had two years to form relationships with the host community.
"It's not just drop in and leave," Chico said.
Collective members have been canvassing local businesses, they said, in an effort to strengthen relationships between the march and the community along Argyle.
Messinger also noted another important tie between Dyke March and the Argyle community. Several collective members are also active members of Invisible to Invincible (i2i), organization that serves LGBT Asian/ Pacific Islanders, and already have relationships with the community.
Beyond discussing Dyke March, organizers talked more broadly about the intersections of race and queerness in a brief panel discussion. In addition to Chico and Messinger, Kevin Kumashiro, Asian American Studies professor at University of Illinois Chicago, presented. Liz Thomson of the Dyke March collective moderated. Attendees broke into small groups for discussions.
This year's Dyke March is scheduled for June 23. The details of the march have yet to be announced. More information is available at chicagodykemarch.wordpress.com .