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Pride Parade includes protests, celebrations and the Stanley Cup
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by Matthew Simonette
2015-06-28

This article shared 6 times since Sun Jun 28, 2015
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Chicagoans could not have asked for a better day for their Pride Parade. With sunny weather and temperatures in the mid-70s, hundreds of thousands gathered for the 46th annual parade that stretched from Uptown through Lakeview.

Celebrants were this year further stoked by news that came from the U.S. Supreme Court just over 48 hours earlier, that marriage equality was now the law of the land. Marriage equality was unsurprisingly a theme of numerous parade entries.

Another highlight was the Stanley Cup trophy, recently won by the Chicago Blackhawks, displayed on the WGN float, accompanied by the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. Just before the parade, the cup was displayed at Crew gay bar.

Country singer Ty Herndon was parade grand marshal.

The crowd was largely upbeat, according to organizers, but the parade was not without incident. Several protestors from the group #BlackOutPride staged a "die-in" at Halsted and Addison shortly before 2 p.m. Eight people were arrested in the incident and have been taken to the Cook County Courthouse at Belmont and Western Avenues.

According to a statement released by the group June 28, #BlackOutPride wanted to call attention to numerous LGBT-related issues that had been given short-shrift by the community as many organizations and politicians focused attention on marriage equality, such as homelessness among LGBT youth and hyper-policing of communities of color.

"Organizers of the die-in hope the protest will bring attention to the parade's origins as a political action meant to resist state violence," said a statement released June 28. "Organizers wish to amplify the voices of those silenced within the LGBTQ community, primarily those populations most impacted by state violence—trans people, women, people with disabilities and mental illness, Black and Brown folk, indigenous people, immigrants, sex workers and street youth."

#BlackOutPride spokesperson NIC Kay said that the action was "to honor the history of Pride, which started out as a riot, and to honor the history of [organizers] Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Johnson."

They [Kay's chosen pronoun] added that #BlackOutPride sought to "de-center Pride as a commercial event and center it as a protest," and characterized the disruption as "an effective action."

Another delay occurred when a car reportedly drove out onto Halsted Street. Police smashed the windows when the driver did not heed instructions to stop. At least one person was arrested in that incident.

Neither Chicago Police nor parade organizers were ready with attendance figures or arrest figures as of press time. [Related coverage at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/CPD-52-arrests-related-to-Pride/51988.html . ]But the outcomes from this year's parade, as well as its aftermath, will be closely scrutinized, city officials have said. Following multiple reports of disorderly conduct after the 2014 Pride Parade, as well as concern that the event taxes the resources of Lake View and Uptown, numerous residents and stakeholders have suggested that the parade be moved downtown. Extra security detail was put into place along the route, and celebrants were warned that open alcohol containers would result in a $1,000 fine. Security checkpoints were also implemented.

But the crowd was in high-spirits as Mayor Rahm Emanuel stepped off at the front of the parade. He recalled attending a Pride Parade with his young daughter, who was overcome by the happiness of the occasion: "She said to me, 'All the daddies like to dance.'"

Many city, county, state and federal officials took part in the parade. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Debra Shore held a sign that said, "Just Married."

"It's always terrific to be here celebrating our community and its achievements," Shore said. "Today is extra-sweet, because we know equality has reached all across the land. I predict that in those 13 states where marriage has been prohibited, we'll see more people seeking licenses than was ever expected."

State Rep. Greg Harris, who rode a float with state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and state Sens. Daniel Biss and Heather Steans, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and others, said, "It's really a testament to what people of good will, if they are really willing to fight for the right thing, can accomplish. People of every kind—gay and straight, suburban, Black and white, Latino and Asian—said this is the right thing to do, and now it's happened."

"This an amazing milestone, an awesome victory, but it's also a reminder that, when you think of states where someone can get married and get fired for it, there are things we still need to do," added Cassidy. "The youth I work with—I know we're getting there for them, but we still have more that we've got to do and I want to make sure that people take it, not as a pinnacle but a momentum-builder."

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is running to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate, said, "I remember when we were working on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell,' and ending that seemed so logical to me, but this seems logical too. It's a day of love. Love won out and civil liberties won out. The only downside is that it took so long for the United States to get here. It took a decade after other developed nations. That's one regret, but today's about partying and love, and I just want to let it all soak through."

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle added, "It's been, at the federal level, a very good week. This is a good way to top it off."

Numerous other politicians appeared on the parade route, among them former Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Cook County Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, City Clerk Susana Mendoza, Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Cook County Commissioner (and former mayoral candidate) Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, state Sen. Don Harmon, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, state Rep. Camille Lilly and Alds. James Cappleman, Deb Mell, Tom Tunney, Raymond Lopez, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Joe Moore.

Duckworth's opponent, incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk also appeared, as did another senatorial candidate, Andrea Zopp. U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley walked the parade route giving away imitation wedding rings.

Another popular parade participant was not a person, but, rather, a trophy—the Stanley Cup, which was first taken to an Equality Illinois event at Crew, then rode on WGN's float, preceded by members of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts and Chicago activist Brooke Skinner marked their recent wedding by riding on the front of the team's float. Other sports organizations included Chicago Smelts, Chicago Dragons and Chicago Sky, plus the city's LGBT sports leagues.

Religious organizations included Chicago Welcoming Churches, aChurch4Me MCC (its large blow-up Jesus was punctured by the stoplight overhead at Montrose at the start of the route, deflating him in front of the crowds), Temple Sholom Keshet, Congregation Or Chadash, Chicago Episcopal Diocese and Dignity/Chicago.

Lambda Legal representatives held enormous depictions of the five Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of marriage equality. Other rights organizations included The Civil Rights Agenda, Human Rights Campaign and Chicago Transgender Society. Gay Liberation Network brought a large contingent, drawing attention to issues surrounding LGBT immigration.

Other entries included Lakeside Pride Freedom Marching Band (sporting brand-new uniforms), Chicago Hellfire Club, Dykes on Bikes, Thresholds, Thousand Waves Martial Arts, Illinois State Bar Association and National Gay Pilots Association.

Many more photos at the MORE PHOTOS button under the main slide slow on this page.

Related coverage at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Black-trans-queer-individuals-disrupt-Pride-Parade/51984.html .

Related coverage at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/CPD-52-arrests-related-to-Pride/51988.html .

The video playlist below contains multiple videos. Choose Playlist in the top left hand corner to watch videos out of order, if preferred.



This article shared 6 times since Sun Jun 28, 2015
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