Hundreds of supporters came to celebrate and show pride at the 15th Annual Chicago Disability Pride Parade on July 22. The largest disability pride parade in the nation began at 401 S. Plymouth Ct. and concluded at Daley Plaza.
More than 20 sponsors participate in the parade each year and come together to encourage self-acceptance and dignity for those who are disabled. These sponsors included The Family Resource Center on Disabilities, DAWWN, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Access Living, Equip for Equality and more. Participants of all physical and mental disabilities are welcome to participate. Several family members and friends were also present cheering on their loved ones.
The year's theme was "Disability Equality Is Long Overdue!" Chants demanding better care in disability homes and more rights for disabled folks permeated the streets. These chants were paired with posters containing encouraging messages and vibrant upbeat music. The energy was both powerful and empowering.
What is even more empowering about the Disability Pride Parade is that the entire event is planned around the needs of those with disabilities. Despite the urge to push for more rights and better treatment, the environment was designed to be calm and positive.
"Today is just for us, it feels good to be here surrounded by good people who care about you," Osbaldo Rodriguez, a participant, said. "This is a huge family."
The event concluded with refreshments at Daley Plaza and information booths that the sponsors organized.