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Rain does not dampen Latina/o Pride
2008-07-23

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A steady downpour threatened to cancel the third annual Latina/o Pride, held July 20 in Humboldt Park. But the clouds eventually cleared, and revelers gathered around their grills and, later, a performance stage to celebrate 'our queer, gender-bending, ethnic culture,' according to Nicole Perez, one of the organizers.

Perez said that this year marked a 'conscious decision to move it to a Latino neighborhood.' It also marked a community-building collaboration: The event was co-hosted with Chicago Black Gay Pride. Perez said that attendance had been steadily growing every year, and that organizers were keen to emulate the Black Pride model of hosting vendors in order to increase participation. Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, visiting from Washington D.C., said that events like this provided important alternatives to mainstream Pride celebrations. She said that Chicago is one of the few cities to hold such an event on a regular basis; others include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Boston, which hosts the biggest Latina/o Pride.

The afternoon was organized around activities like where people could just 'chill,' as co-organizer Nilsa Irizarry put it, playing soccer or frisbee. For a couple hours, they also took in performances that included spoken-word poetry by members of La Dulce Palabra; dances by Maritza Nazario; songs by Latin Soul; and drag performances by Phoenix Jade and Star Valentino Bonet. Photos and text by Yasmin Nair


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