The Forest Park Diversity Commission has announced plans to celebrate Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month with a Forest Park Pride Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 22 in the parking lot of Constitution Court in the 7400 block of Madison Street.
According to Cecilia Boyd of the Diversity Commission, this will be a first for village but added she hopes it also will not be the last.
“We haven’t celebrated before,” she said. “Now’s the time.”
The Village Council added its support for the celebration, voting 5-0 at the April 22 meeting to grant approval to the Diversity Commission to use the Constitution Court parking lot for the event.
“I am excited that the Diversity Commission is stepping up and offering this opportunity for the community,” Mayor Anthony Calderone said.
Noting that village officials have been “pushing” the commission, Boyd said, “We appreciate their support.”
With organizers still in the planning stage, few details other than day, time and location are known.
“We’re trying to figure out ways to tap into the LGBTQ community,” Boyd said.
She said the Diversity Commission has been working with the Forest Park Historical Society to research LGBTQ presence in the village in the past and has asked the Forest Park Public Library to assemble a list of books available at the library written by LGBTQ authors or featuring LGBTQ themes.
“The Forest Park Diversity Commission will host a pride celebration with family friendly activities, entertainment and educational resources on LGBTQ history,” commission members said in a written request for support to village officials. “The celebration will convene community members, local participating businesses and surrounding communities to celebrate the LGBTQ community in Forest Park.”
Boyd said the Diversity Commission also is reaching out to officials at Forest Park District 91schools and Proviso Township High School District 209.
“We see the need for kids to be involved,” she added.
Organizers also are hoping for support from the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development and its members, stating in their written request that they will encourage all attendees to visit local Forest Park businesses and take part in “pride celebration deals” indicated by the participating businesses.
Organizers are seeking support to purchase refreshments and snacks for pride celebration attendees, which they estimate will be 150.
Boyd said reception to the idea of a Pride Celebration in Forest Park has gone “really well,” noting the local event will not conflict with the Chicago Pride Parade, which will be held on June 30.
“My goal is to get the word out to as many people as we can,” she said. “We need to get people comfortable with Pride.”
Established by the Village Council in May 2016, the Diversity Commission is designed to be a resource for experience and information on diversity issues and to serve in an advisory capacity to the mayor and Village Council.