Chicago Pride 2020 returns to movement's roots with Sunday protests for Black trans lives on North Side

Karen Jordan Image
Thursday, June 25, 2020
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Chicago Pride is returning to the movement's roots Sunday; instead of the annual raucous Boystown parade, a protest for Black trans lives has been organized.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- June is Pride month and Sunday would normally be the Pride parade in Chicago, but things are different this year. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent protests have changed everything. There's now a new focus on equality for Black and trans members of the community, in some ways bringing the movement back to its roots.

Even though the city's annual Pride parade was canceled due to the pandemic, marches are still planned. Activate Chi has helped organize Black Trans Lives Matter, a Black Lives Matter Pride protest.

"We've celebrated Pride and we've somehow whitewashed out the fact that Black trans people started this movement and they're still being murdered disproportionately," said Dom Brown, co-diretor of Activate Chi.

The seven mile march starts Sunday at 11 a.m. in Uptown and ends with a rally in Grant Park. People can join along the way.

A second protest march will begin at noon Sunday, starting at the Belmont Red Line CTA station and heading north. Organizers said everyone is welcome to participate and that Black, brown and trans voices will take center stage.

On the Magnificent Mile, colorful murals celebrating the LGBTQ community have started going up, crated by Chicago artist Sam Kirk. The new, prominent location for the art is a big step forward.

"Just to reinforce that we are welcome in all parts of the city, and that we don't just need to be in designated neighborhoods or designated areas," Kirk said.

The large pieces, which will be installed on locations from the Cultural Center to Navy Pier, depict people of various races, ages, genders and sexual orientations.

"Art often, it has the power to heal, it has the power to educate, it has the power to have us stop and reflect," said Kimberly Bares, president and CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association.

Bares said it is also a way to honor Pride month.