Upcoming Aurora Pride Parade 'Adequately Staffed' With Police: City

July 8, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

AURORA, IL — The Aurora Pride parade is returning June 11 and will be “adequately staffed” by police officers, city officials said.

For the fourth consecutive year, the procession is set to step off at noon in celebration of Pride Month, observed annually in June.

At this point a year ago, the nonprofit organization was faced with extra challenges.

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About two weeks before the Aurora Pride Parade was scheduled to happen on June 12, 2022, organizers asked Aurora Police Department officers to show up out of uniform and without service weapons and police vehicles. In explaining their reasoning, the group said members of the community “feel uneasy” in the presence of official police vehicles due to “negative experiences,” Patch reported.

The request was met with backlash, with Mayor Richard Irvin speaking out to say he was “extremely distressed and disturbed,” before eventually pulling out of the parade altogether.

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Irvin also declined to include Aurora Pride in the city’s annual flag-raising event to commemorate the start of Pride Month, which led to organizers compromising to allow officers to appear in “soft uniform.”

It took the city two days to reverse course and reinstate the parade’s permit. To do so, police staffing the parade received an “unprecedented” triple-time pay incentive, Patch reported.

Now, a year later, Judge Martha Pacold, with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, granted a preliminary injunction May 19 in connection to Aurora Pride’s federal lawsuit against the City of Aurora filed in January by the American Civil Liberties Union. The suit sought to prevent the City of Aurora from applying the “unconstitutional” Special Events ordinance to Aurora Pride in the future, Patch reported.

The ruling stated the City of Aurora “sincerely and credibly holds no hostility toward Aurora Pride.”

“We’re thrilled with the confidence the court’s ruling gives us to move forward with planning,” Aurora Pride wrote to Patch in a statement. “We expect this year’s parade to be fabulous, and be sure to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.”

In a statement the same day, city officials said they anticipate this year’s Pride parade to be “even more special” in Aurora as a result of the city’s first LGBTQ Advisory Board that was established in August 2022. Consisting of nine members, the group advises the city concerning the needs of its LGBTQ community, Patch reported.

“Since the first Pride Parade in 2018, my administration has actively advocated for and publicly supported the parade and other Pride activities,” Mayor Richard Irvin said in a statement. “Just as I said last year during the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony, our goal is to have an inclusive, safe, energetic, and empowering event in Aurora. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again this year.”

Ahead of the parade, Irvin and his administration will host its annual Pride Flag-Raising Ceremony June 9.

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