Chicago’s 50th annual parade steps off at noon on Sunday, June 30.
Lightfoot was overwhelmingly elected to lead the Windy City in a historic election on April 2. She is the first African-American woman and first openly lesbian mayor in Chicago’s history.
During her victory speech, Lightfoot told supporters:
“One day, you will stand on my shoulders, as I stand on the shoulders of so many: The shoulders of strong black women, like Ida B. Wells, Gwendolyn Brooks and Annie Ruth Lowery. The shoulders of LGBTQ-plus trailblazers, like Dr. Ron Sable, Vernita Gray and Art Johnston. And the shoulders of political giants, like the late, great Harold Washington.”
Lightfoot also becomes the highest-ranking LGBTQ mayor in American history and the only black openly lesbian mayor in the nation.
Lightfoot, 56, and her wife, Amy Eshleman, have an 11-year-old daughter.
“I sure wouldn’t have made it without my wife Amy and our daughter Vivian,” Lightfoot told supporters. “I want to thank you both for your endless inspiration, your support at the toughest times and your undying love. You are my all, my everything.”
Lightfoot will be marching near the front of the parade as did her predecessors Mayor Richard M. Daley and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Pride Chicago, the organizers of the parade, announced changes to the grand marshal selection earlier this month. For the first time, there will be an Honorary Grand Marshal, plus a Youth Grand Marshal, several Legacy Grand Marshals and an Organizational Grand Marshal.
Molly Pinta, the 12-year-old middle school student who lobbied to have a pride parade in her home town of Buffalo Grove and came out as a lesbian, has been named Youth Grand Marshal.
Three community members who have remained active in LGBTQ organizations and businesses have been named as Legacy Grand Marshals. They included Joel Hall, community activist and founder of the Joel Hall Dance Company; Jim Flint, community activist and owner of the Baton Show Lounge; and Marge Summit, longtime community activist and owner of the former His ‘n Hers bar.
The Aurora Pride organizers, who held the first suburban pride parade in Illinois history last year, and worked hard to secure their second parade after they had to initially cancel it earlier this year due to an increase in their city fees, will be honored as the Organizational Grand Marshal.
This year’s parade, under the theme “Stonewall 50: Millions of Moments of Pride”, will honor the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, an event that served as a catalyst for the gay liberation movement.
Chicago’s first pride parade was held in 1970 and included about 150 people marching in downtown Chicago. There were no floats, no corporate sponsors and no politicians.
Today over one million people line the streets of Chicago’s Uptown and Lakeview neighborhoods for the annual parade.
Lightfoot inauguration details
Lightfoot will be sworn in Monday, May 20, at Wintrust Arena, 200 E. Cermak Rd. The official swearing-in ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and will include a program that features Chicago’s Hamilton, Miguel Cervantes; Chicago Sinfonietta; Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and Latin Music Program; Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus; After School Matters Choir; and others.
Lightfoot and Eshleman will host an open house at the mayor’s office in City Hall from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Information on both events and access to the free tickets for the inaugural ceremony can be found at BetterTogetherChicago.com.