As the gray skies cleared at the beginning of Chicago’s 47th annual Pride Parade, a brief moment of silence was held and a group led the parade with colored balloons that represented the LGBT flag and spelled, “1 Pulse,” to honor the 49 victims killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando two weeks before.
Last year, Chicago’s Pride Parade came just two days after the Supreme Court decided same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry nationwide. The few weeks prior to this year’s parade, themed “Solidarity Through Pride”, however, were more sorrowful.
The parade drew an estimated 1 million people to the Boystown neighborhood, according to Chicago city officials. In efforts to make the parade shorter and tighter for safety reasons, parade organizers decided to start at Montrose Avenue and Broadway and end at Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road.
Following the attack in Orlando, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD said patrols at the parade would be increased from 70 to 160 officers, and additional off-duty officers and K-9 units would also be assigned to the parade route.
However, only seven arrests were made at the event for minor crimes, according to CPD records.