The 16th annual Disability Pride Parade was held July 20 in the Loop.
The heat did not stop the celebration, and the parade took off on the corner of Plymouth Court and Van Buren Street. Floats that highlighted the parade's theme, "Disability Pride is Social Justice," lined the streets as bystanders cheered them.
The parade's grand marshal, Ginger Lane, led the participants on a half-mile march to Daley Plaza, where participants set up tents that included free gifts and information on their relation to disability pride. Tents provided everything from crafts and activities to free water bottles, fruit and other snacks. Acknowledging the intense heat, there were were "cooling buses" for those who needed a break from the heat, and various organizations had people passing out fans.
At one point, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took the stage. Lightfoot spoke about her own connection to disability pridehaving grown up with a deaf fatherbefore saying people need to make Chicago more accessible and more inclusive. Following the mayor, Lane spoke, echoing the mayor's words regarding accessibility and inclusion.
"Today marks the next step in that effort, to change what needs to be changed and to take pride in who we are," said Lightfoot. "On this day, we need to celebrate the progress that we've made as a city and the future that is bright because of the efforts and sacrifices of people within the disability rights community. Let's keep marching forward."