City revokes Pride parade permit, says too few cops volunteered to work security
The event in Aurora, Illinois, has faced controversy since organizers banned police from marching in uniform
By Steve Lord
Lake County News-Sun, Gurnee, Ill.
AURORA, Ill. — The city of Aurora has revoked the special event permit for the Aurora Pride group to hold the Aurora Pride Parade Sunday.
The revocation is based on "the inability of the Aurora Pride board to retain the number of law enforcement officers required to ensure the public health and welfare of participants and spectators" at the Aurora Pride Parade, according to a statement Wednesday afternoon from the city of Aurora.
The statement went on to say the Aurora Police Department, which was providing 70% of the security force for the parade, recommended the parade be canceled because of the inability to satisfy safety requirements.
As part of the due process provided by the city code, Aurora Pride has filed an appeal, with a hearing to be held before an administrative hearing officer at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Courtroom 2 of the Aurora Branch Court.
Aurora officials said any further statements from the city about the revocation of the permit will come following the appeal hearing.
Aurora police made its recommendation about the parade public Tuesday after saying that not enough officers had volunteered for overtime shifts to provide security at the event. The Pride Parade is a privately sponsored event, so officers have to volunteer to be on the security detail on their own time. The city cannot force them to do it.
The city revoked the parade permit after the recommendation from the police department.
The parade already was steeped in controversy after Aurora Pride, parade organizers, had asked that police not participate in the parade in their full uniforms.
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The organization said they could march with banners, wearing T-shirts or other kinds of identifiable shirts — called a "soft uniform" — but not in full uniform with weapons.
The reason given by Aurora Pride was that some members of the LGBTQ-plus community are uncomfortable with uniformed police due to a history of run-ins with police, and abuse at their hands.
The city responded by pulling its float out of the parade, and Mayor Richard Irvin said he would not march in the event.
The statement by police Tuesday did not say whether the shortage of officers volunteering to work overtime shifts to provide security at the event is related to the organizers not wanting police to march in the parade in uniform.
Aurora Pride officials acknowledged in a statement posted on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that the parade permit had been revoked, but told supporters to "please hang tight."
"However, we're not giving up," the statement said. "Our position has been misrepresented, and we're making every effort to keep the parade as scheduled."
City officials also decided to hold its planned raising of the Pride flag at North Island Center without the participation of Aurora Pride. Originally, it was to have been done together by Aurora Pride and the city.
Similar to what the city did with the Irish and Mexican flags, officials will raise the Pride flag during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday in One Aurora Plaza in front of North Island Center on Galena Boulevard downtown.
In addition to raising the flag, the ceremony will include presentation of the first ever Aurora Pride and Excellence Awards to individuals in the LGBTQ-plus community, according to Clayton Muhammad, the city's chief communications and equity officer.
He made the announcement during the mayor's report segment of this week's City Council Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday evening.
The Aurora Pride and Excellence Awards will be presented to youth advocates Martin and Jose Luna-Espinoza of the Simply Destinee Youth Center and Dance Team; Whitney Crenshaw of Nine6Teen Boutique, a Black, woman, and LGBTQ-owned business at Fox Valley Mall; and Adam Pauley, a college student and community advocate who has led efforts to establish an LBGTQ-plus advisory board in Aurora.
Muhammad said during this week's Committee of the Whole meeting that efforts have begun to establish that advisory board.
Also receiving the inaugural Aurora Pride and Excellence Award will be the Aurora Police Department's LGBTQ-plus Liaison Program.
Aurora Police Sgt. Lee Catavu, who leads the program, will represent the department's LGBTQ-plus officers and speak during the ceremony, along with the chair of the Aurora Human Relations Commission, William Small, and other officials.
(c)2022 the Lake County News-Sun (Lake County, Ill.)