I am writing this letter in response to Chester Munro's letter to the editor in the Windy City Times' June 29, 2011 edition.
This year's Pride Parade probably had the largest crowds of all time; I have heard crowd estimates to be close to 700,000 people. That is a lot of people.
I, too, attended the Gay Pride Parade. I took the Red Line to Addison and started my journey to meet some friends also just outside of the Cell Block. It was shoulder to shoulder people and, yes, there was shoving going on and some people were angry, but the vast majority seemed to be enjoying the parade.
I am constantly amazed that the parade committee, under the outstanding leadership of Richard Pfeiffer, continues to commit its time and talents to organizing the parade each year. The committee works in tandem with the police department, but they are not the police department.
I am sure there were fights that broke out, and even some people probably got mugged, wallets were picked and booze flowed. Implying the Pride Committee is somehow responsible for spontaneous incidents of violence that broke out is just as clueless as blaming the Cell Block for crowd control in front of its premises.
Anytime you get such a large group of people together for one of Chicago's largest parades you are going to have incidents. However, to hold the Pride Committee accountable is just as inane as holding bar owners responsible for those who abuse alcohol.
I realize Chester and I have a difference of opinion on this matter, but I do think he is judging the Pride Committee with a broad brush. On the whole, given the number of people I think the Chicago Police Department did a great job at crowd control; the Pride Committee did a great job with all their monitors keeping the parade on schedule; and that, all in all, it was a spectacular parade, even with its faults.
Finally, I just want to take this opportunity to thank all those who volunteered their time and talents on this year's Pride Committee, and I look forward to next year's parade.