This time it didn’t rain on the rainbow.
More than 100 people attended the first ever Evanston Gay Pride Community Picnic on Saturday evening. The picnic was rained off of its originally scheduled date last month.
The event was sponsored by Evanston Pride, a group that is only two years old.
Rainbow colored kites were shot across the sky. Signs with pink triangles surrounded part of the perimeter of Ingraham Park. People loved music and made new friends.
An Evanston Pride poll found that “ways to help meet other members of the community” was a top priority.
The fact that a politically progressive city like Evanston didn’t even have a gay rights group until a few years ago may seem hard to believe, but the organization’s chairman, Jackson Adams, has said the LBGTQIA + community mobilization was “why we did this”.
Longtime Pride and Evanstonian board member Sandie Elliott said people at the picnic kept telling her “thank you for doing this.”
Elliott said that while the gay rights movement deals with specific issues, it is also “inclusive of everyone.”
Katherine Gotsick, another member of the Pride board of directors, is a heterosexual woman. She said just learning about the issues is “incredibly important, and I plan to bring other people with me.”
Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss addressed the crowd, saying there is a “moral responsibility” to tackle anti-gay prejudice.
“For all the progress we’ve made in society,” Biss said, “we have a long way to go.”
The picnic ended with a candle-lighting ceremony in honor of gay rights activists.
“We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us,” Adams said. “Our fight is not over.”