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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lightfoot hosts Pride reception
Video below
by Matt Simonette
2019-06-21

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Hundreds gathered in Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center as Mayor Lori Lightfoot hosted an LGBT reception in honor of Pride month.

Center on Halsted Vanessa Sheridan introduced the proceedings with a reminder of the historical contribution of activist Marsha P. Johnson: "We would not be standing here tonight ... if not for the courage of an African American transgender sex worker."

Sheridan added, "The Stonewall rebellion still has reverberations for our community today," adding that, "We can [now] celebrate that we have a mayor and a first family who is part of our community."

The mayor was introduced by her wife Amy Eshleman. She recalled walking in the Pride parade last year, when Lightfoot was a mayoral candidate. She called the event "one of the most profound and humbling experiences of my life," and looked ahead to the 2019 parade on June 30.

Lightfoot thanked Equality Illinois co-founder and Sidetrack owner Arthur Johnston, as well as activist/consultant Mary Morten. She also recalled contributions by the late activist Vernita Gray.

The mayor further discussed how Chicago functions as a "beacon of hope" for persons looking to be open about who they are, whether that means moving to the city or just visiting.

"Chicago is a place that people from all over the world come to be themselves, if just for a weekend," she added.

Lightfoot also spoke at length about difficulties facing various members of the LGBT community, particularly young people who are experiencing homelessness, and trans people.

"We have to keep doing the work—the hard work—for them every single day," she added.

Nevertheless, she encouraged the audience to enjoy the moment in advance of the upcoming Pride celebrations: "We should have pride for where we are. ... This is what pride looks like."





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