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Second Drag March for Change takes place in Northalsted/Boystown
by Vern Hester
2021-06-14

This article shared 1187 times since Mon Jun 14, 2021
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The second Drag March for Change took place June 13 in Lake View along the route of Halsted street by way of Belmont and Grace avenues.

The event—which aimed to continue the momentum sparked by the murder of George Floyd while calling out the racism and transphobia in Chicago's LGBTQ community, particularly in the bars—featured several speakers and issues. Organized by performer/activist Jo Mama, Brave Space Alliance and the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, this edition of the rally and march was less angry with a tacit acknowledgement that progress had been made since 2020, but that much work needed to be done.

Among the speakers at the 2021 event were performers The Vixen, Cae Monae, Lucy Stoole, Aunty Chan, and Miss Toto while others included activist Lynzo, and LaSaia Wade and Zahara Bassett of Brave Space Alliance.

The 2020 event was highly critical of the Boystown/Northalsted community's racism in events, programming, policy and neighborhood attitudes against people of color and trans people.

The tone may have been less barbed this year but the overall message called for more action. Late in the rally The Vixen said, "Just because you got what you wanted does not mean the work is over. These problems are not something we can fix in a year or four years. Always remember: The people who are unsatisfied always keep the momentum going." Wade expressed her naked rage when she said, "Brave Space Alliance is doing the work the LGBTQ community and the city is not doing. ... Fuck the community, fuck this city, and fuck [Chicago Mayor] Lori Lightfoot."

There were also moving moments as activist Lynzo spoke about going to Northalsted/Boystown for the first time to celebrate her 21st birthday—and then watched as her evening turned into a mess with fistfights with strangers, topped off with a confrontation with the police, who she said presumed she started the commotion.

Still, there were moments of inspiration and unbridled joy as well. Aunty Chan lampooned corporate pride with upfront humor while activist Tatyana Chante presented a report card for the many Halsted Street bars that had made noticeable improvements. Monae said early on, "If you are able and willing you can do amazing things." Stoole said, "You may not realize your own power, but you are powerful. ... Trust in your power."

The organizers also spoke on a list of goals for the actions of the Drag March. Among them is to maintain the momentum of the George Floyd aftermath, a reclassification of violence against trans persons as a federal hate crime, the defunding of the Chicago Police Department by 75 percent as well as the reinvestment of that money into social services and community programs, and a ban on Chicago police officers marching as a unit in the annual Pride Parade.


This article shared 1187 times since Mon Jun 14, 2021
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