Rainbows take over Chicago this June


Halsted St. showed off its pride with this sign in the middle of the festival.

By: Caitlyn Rawers, Editor in Chief

The month of June is a month of celebration, coming together and pride for many people. June is Pride month for the LGBT+ [Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] community. June is considered Pride month because of the historic Stonewall Riot that happened on June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Riot is often considered the first protest for equal rights for homosexuals, according to history.com.

Chicago has many Pride celebrations that occur all throughout the month, but among the biggest is the festival and the parade. This year’s festival occurred on the June 18 and 19 while the parade occurred on June 26.

The festival featured a wide variety of tents and stages, very similar to something you might find at the Corn Boil or Elburn Days. Rainbows dominated the festival, but there was a sense of somberness as police watched from under a Chicago ♥ Orlando sign.

The Orlando LGBT+ community was attacked June 12 by Omar Mateen. 49 clubgoers were shot and killed at the LGBT+ nightclub named the Pulse. The shooter was killed after an exchange of gunfire with police according to TIME magazine. With 49 victims dead and 53 injured, it is now considered the worst mass shooting in US history.

The tents along the street featured many organizations and a lot of them were accepting donations for the families of the victims that were killed in Orlando.

Despite the recent attacks on the LGBT+ community, the festival in Chicago was thriving. Smiles came easy while strangers would turn to each other and say “I love your shirt” or “I love your outfit.”

The lively crowd danced, smiled, hugged and ate the day away. The scent of Asian, Jamaican, Greek and carnival food was hanging over the street. Attention was drawn mostly to the stages where the music was playing.

The three stages always had something going on. Drag queens danced to popular music, DJs competed and bands played.

A staff member of gopride.com was on stage during one of the drag shows, and when he was given the microphone to speak, he said “We owe Orlando.”

During the same drag show, the announcer took a moment to thank the Chicago police for their service and the policeman were applauded for their work.

The crowd was diverse. The elderly, toddlers, people of different races, even disabled people were there. The community embraced each other with open arms no matter who they were.

One elderly woman was dancing in the crowd of primarily younger people, circles formed around her as she showed off her moves. The smile on her face made everyone cheer her on.

Among the talents that performed was a chorus called the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus. They sang about the struggles of being queer and how people have tried to change them. Their passionate music definitely struck a chord with the crowd, but the chorus lightened the mood by singing songs like “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars.

Jordin Sparks sang at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 18. The former American Idol winner wooed the crowd as they waved glow sticks and rainbow flags along to her song “Tattoo.”


The parade on Sunday, June 26 was enormous. According to WGN, an estimated one million people came to parade.

The marchers were filled with emotion. Some stoically journey on with “#WeAreOrlando” on a sign. Members of the community walked past; kissing, embracing and celebrating the opportunity to be themselves.

Some news stations and several organizations were involved in the parade. Churches, synagogues, anti-racism groups and activist groups waved their banners proudly.

The crowd itself was alive, people were cheering and smiling. I was asked for a hug once from a stranger.  An elderly lady near the fence laughed as parade floats tossed rainbow bead necklaces.

The joy enveloping the street was incredible. Unconquerable love filled the streets of Chicago as people from all backgrounds and all identities embraced in the name of being themselves. The LGBT+ community loves to love and they have a lot to give.