Chicagoans with disabilities and their allies gathered downtown for the ninth annual Disability Pride Parade July 21.
The parade kicked off at Harold Washington Library and culminated in a festival on Daley Plaza with food, entertainment and information booths. Performers included the Jesse White Tumblers, The Arts of Life Band, dance troupe Collective SOLE, Vaughn Occupational High School's Vaughn Demeanor, the Praetorium Sign Language Choir and local rock band Eden.
Grand Marshal Linda E. Miller, domestic violence services program coordinator for Sinai Health Systems, led the parade. She works primarily with disabled survivors of domestic neglect, abuse and violence and leads disability and domestic-violence trainings for domestic-violence shelters and health care providers.
Members of the Transformative Justice Law Project, a law collective providing free criminal legal services to low-income and street based transgender and gender non-conforming people, also marched in the parade.
"From my perspective as a trans person, the intersection of transgender and disability is fighting for control of our bodies and the way institutions, the medical industrial complex and prisons all try to control and limit our bodies," said Lark Mulligan of the Transformative Justice Law Project. "This is about resisting the systems that pathologize us and limit where we can go."
"In many ways discrimination against the disabled and discrimination against LGBT people are the last institutional and legal forms of discrimination in the country," said Ed Yohnka, director of communication and public policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
Legal strides made for LGBT community often mirror strides for the disabled community, Yohnka added: "It reflects the growing sense of recognizing people's humanity and their basic freedoms, whether it is based on sexual orientation or gender identity or ability."