The inaugural Aurora Pride Parade is now a celebration for the history books. It was, simply put, a great day for Aurora and the Fox Valley area. And as the leader of Indivisible Aurora, the parade organizers, I can tell you that our team is already looking forward to a more expansive event for 2019.
None of the dramatic dire portents of those opposed to the parade materialized. It was peaceful, inclusive, loving and family friendly — as we said it would be. In short, it was a celebration carefully curated from the beginning to align to the values of our community. As our APD contact shared with us after the parade, “No one went to jail or to the hospital. It was a good day.”
But history never just happens. It takes vision and dedication to push it along. Accordingly, I’d like to take the balance of this space to thank the army of people involved in making history happen in Aurora.
Thank you first to the co-chairs of the Organizing Committee, Gwyn Cielsa and Kimberly Adams (my wife). You two were the steady hands of this project. Everyone looked to you for guidance and leadership and you delivered. Without you two this doesn’t happen.
Massive thank you’s to their section captains: Wendy Connell, Kimberly Crivello, Erik Franzen, Brittney Keller and Bob Koverman. Thank you to their many volunteers — about 80 of them — all of which gave their time to something they thought bigger than themselves. To our many valuable sponsors, patrons and supporters, a huge thank you!
Thank you also to Mayor Richard C. Irvin and his staff for their enthusiastic support of the Pride Parade, to the Aurora Police Department for their professionalism and dedication to public safety, to the Special Events Team (Gina and Mike, you know who you are!) for helping a bunch of newbies wrangle this beast of a project.
To the nearly 3,000 people who marched in the parade — wow. Thank you for showing the truly loving and inclusive face of Aurora. Your excitement was infectious.
Chuck Adams, director of Indivisible Aurora, said the recent Pride Parade in Aurora was a big success. (Steve Lord / The Beacon-News)
And last, but not least, to the almost 8,000 amazing, loud, proud, wild, goofy, straight, allied, LGBTQ+ spectators who braved the withering heat in an explosive display of love and unity, the intensity of which this town has never seen, goes the biggest thank you. You turned downtown — our town — into a sea of rainbows and smiles and hugs and affirmation.
When we started this endeavor we knew there was a need, in this current political climate, to collectively shout, “Love will win!” To shout to our LGBTQ+ community that it gets better. And man, did you folks shout it! (The parade) exceeded our wildest expectations.
See you in 2019! Love will win. It always does.
Chuck Adams is the executive director of Indivisible Aurora