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New group aims to instill Latino pride
by Natasha Hemley

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United Latino Pride will be holding a weeklong event June 5-12 to celebrate "who we are and who we love," according to its website.

After attending a picnic held by local Latino organization Orgullo en Accion, United Latino Pride co-founder Jessica Carrillo thought that there "just wasn't anything out there for LGBTQ Latino individuals and decided to hold a meeting at a local cafe."

"There's a lot of other organizations and people that [ said ] let's do more. They believed in the capacity to do more. I started having conversations with organizations and individuals and that's how we had the meeting," said Carrillo.

The name "United Latino Pride" was created by the 20-plus volunteers who showed up for the first meeting last April. The mission of this newly developed group is "to honor the diversity in our Latino LGBTQ community by coming together, celebrating and educating the community as a whole, regardless of religion, politics, organization or individual status." There are at least 30,000 Latino LGBTQs in the Chicago, who up until last year either identified with being latino or queer, but not both, according to Pride's website.

"We really wanted to create something to amplify the work that different organizations and individuals were doing on a progressive level, and also celebrate the duality of being Latino and LGBTQA," said Carrillo.

The volunteers who compose the group have their own personal reasons for joining the organization.

"Personally, the call to action pulled strongly at my sincere desire to see the Queer Latino community come together to heal wounds and build bridges between the cultural groups that make up our community," said member/volunteer Pedro Serrano. Serrano also went on to say that he believes most volunteers join the group to "celebrate the duality of our culture as Queer Latinos."

Kara Carrell, who started volunteering for United Latino Pride last year, really likes that the group offered her the ability to "celebrate the duality of my multifaceted identities, as a blaxican [ black-Mexican ] and a lesbian."

Events for this year, which are still to be determined, will be held at "traditionally" Latino areas like Little Village and Humboldt Park. Carrillo believes this will bring more information to those in the Latino community who are simple not aware or accepting of those in the LGBTQA community.

"We want to create awareness among the community to say look we are your children, neighbors, friends and we are no different simple because we love someone of the same gender," said Carrillo.

Several organizations and businesses are teaming up with United Latino Pride, including the National Museum of Mexican Art, Project VIDA ( Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement ) , Illuminati and Mesh 110, among others. Visit for more information.

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