A Buffalo Grove student has been working to bring a Pride parade to her Northwest suburban community.
The idea came to 12-year-old Molly Pinta, who attends Twin Grove Middle School, after she attended the wedding of an uncle who is gay, recalled Molly's mother, Carolyn.
"We were all involved, and it was a beautiful time," Carolyn said. "It got us to thinking about how we should start a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at the school she attends, which is also the school I teach at."
That GSA launched this past school year and generated far more interest than either Molly or Carolyn anticipated. The group, which came to be known as the Acceptance Club, began to meet monthly, rather than bi-monthly, as did most groups at her school.
"By the end of the year, my daughter herself had identified as lesbian," Carolyn said. "She was open with my husband and myself, as well as a few friends, but not with the whole world. Then he went with another teacher from the school, who is gay, to Aurora's first Pride parade, which was a smashing success. It was so amazing."
On the way home from the parade, Carolyn said to Molly, "We should do this in Buffalo Grove. We know a lot of people. We can make this happen."
Molly was so taken with the idea that she made a video about it.
Carolyn explained, "It started out with her in our hallway, where she talks about being 12 and being gay and proud, and the Aurora parade and how she wants to throw one in Buffalo Grove."
The family started a fundraising page as well, and it went over the $10,000 mark on July 18. They're now looking to start a not-for-profit to help other LGBT kids who want to start Pride events in their towns. They also are planning some educational events in Buffalo Grove in anticipation of the parade, which has tentatively been set for June of 2019.
"We've been very lucky to get great support, and we're just hoping to make the gay community visible in Buffalo Grove, and normalize it," she said, adding there's much logistical work ahead.
"We met with the police department already and they helped us to pick a good route," Carolyn explained. "We'll need to do everything, from the permits for port-a-potties to hiring a security team from off-duty police officers. … The park district has reached out [and said] that they might be interested in partnering with us, and then we'll be putting those details down on paper."
She added, "I can't reiterate how much we want to use this to highlight acceptance in the community."