BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. (AP) — The first pride parade in Chicago's Northwest suburbs could be on the march as early as next year, thanks to the efforts of a 12-year-old from Buffalo Grove.
Molly Pinta, a seventh-grade student at Twin Groves Middle School, is working with Buffalo Grove officials, her parents and other supporters to organize a parade in her hometown in June, which is Pride Month.
Molly's effort has gained support through Facebook videos and an online fundraiser at GoFundMe that has met nearly half its $10,000 goal.
She said she was inspired by the inaugural Aurora Pride Parade last month.
"We went to the Aurora parade, and it was really big and beautiful and very rainbow," said Molly, who herself wears rainbow-colored hair. "I thought about how wonderful it would be to see it in Buffalo Grove."
She envisions a route filled with music, cars and floats passing cheering throngs lining the path. She's aiming for June 2, 2019, as a target date.
"We also see at the end of the parade a party," said Molly's father, Bob. "The Buffalo Grove Community Arts Center has reached out to us to be part of it, and we figured that might be a way that they can be part of it, if the parade ended there."
Molly also has the support of Buffalo Grove officials.
"I think she really wants to have something very classy, and I think her goals are to educate the community, to bring awareness to the community," Village President Beverly Sussman said. "Here is a girl who wants everyone to be together to respect each other. And for a 12-year-old to say we should all respect each other and care about each other, I think that's very important."
Her mom, Carolyn, said they are scheduled to meet soon with Buffalo Grove police to discuss the plan. They have been told they will not need county or state permits to use local roads, but may apply for permission to use main roads.
"My thought is this will draw a huge crowd," said Carolyn, who teaches Spanish at Twin Groves. "Aurora's drew 5,000 people."
Chuck Adams, executive director and founder of Indivisible Aurora, which hosted the Aurora parade, is among Molly's supporters.
"I'm just really impressed with her," he said. "I saw the video on Facebook, like most people did, and I have to say it brought a tear to my eye. I thought I can't believe that we had this kind of impression on this young lady who is so sure of herself and so confident, that it was not hard to be easily impressed with her and supportive of what she's trying to accomplish."
Adams' organization has offered assistance, including financial support, to Molly.
"This has gotten so much love," Molly said. "We haven't gotten really hate."
Molly said her experience of coming out began last summer with the marriage of her uncle and his husband.
"A lot of my friends identify as LGBTQ, so they were very supportive of me," she said. "We want to make it normalized in our school. There may be lots of closeted gay kids in our school that just are too scared to be open about it."
Adams said Buffalo Grove may not be the only suburb adding a pride parade in coming years. Similar discussions are taking place in Bolingbrook and elsewhere, he said.
"We think that this is space that we can share with a lot of communities, and, more importantly, it helps us affect our goal of making sure that people who are in the LGBTQ+ community feel affirmed and part of the towns they make a home in," he said.
Source: (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, https://bit.ly/2zoFNik
Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com
This is an AP-Illinois Exchange story offered by the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald.