The streets of Aurora will burst with pride once again this year, after the community came together to raise more than $17,000 in a single day to ensure the city’s second annual Pride Parade would avoid cancellation.
Nearly 400 backers put their money where their mouths are last week to help cover the costs required to safely put on the parade and subsequent events that were scheduled to take place on June 9.
The surge in support came after Indivisible Aurora, a non-profit organization hosting the event, announced that the event would be cancelled due to the rising cost passed on by the city to private event holders.
The increase in costs is due to a new ordinance that was passed by the Aurora City Council on Jan. 22. As part of the ordinance, costs for public safety personnel, security fencing for the parade route and the like are passed along to organizers of private events — such as the Pride Festival — and cannot be paid using public funds through the city.
This contrasts with last year’s parade, in which the non-profit reimbursed the city just over $7,000 instead of paying the entire $41,000 needed to put on the event.
“Our fundraising model was designed with last year’s economics in mind,” Indivisible Aurora said in a statement. “While we anticipated an increase we never imagined, nor was it ever suggested, that it would be four times (the cost).”
Despite slashing the cost of the parade’s expenses down to $28,000, the group said the new economics were making it impossible to put on the event. Following the cancellation announcement, LBGTQ+ supporters rose and voiced their dismay.
Local church members, LBGTQ+ advocates, and residents throughout the Fox Valley committed themselves to making the event work.
On April 16, just five days after announcing the Pride Parade’s cancellation, Indivisible Aurora Executive Director Chuck Adams and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin announced that the parade would be back on, but only if the organization raised an additional $17,000 needed to financially support the event.
“We certainly want to provide a public opportunity for our LGBTQ+ community to celebrate,” Irvin said. “A monetary gap shouldn’t stop the momentum gained in a community filled with passion and pride.”
Within 24 hours of announcing the campaign kick-off, the $17,000 goal was met and exceeded. The city of Aurora also chipped in $4,500 in grant funds to offset the cost.
“We want to thank our many supporters throughout Aurora, the Fox Valley area, and Chicagoland,” the organization said. “The passionate outpouring of support has provided all of us with considerable, and needed, strength during this difficult time.”
Last year, an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 people attended the inaugural event. Indivisible Aurora said the movement inspired other local suburban communities to consider holding Pride Parades of their own, including Naperville, Bolingbrook, Minooka and Joliet.
“I’m a firm believer in not giving up and not giving in, especially when it’s something you believe in,” Irvin said. “The 2019 Pride Parade is back on.”
Adams said funds raised exceeding the required $17,000 will go toward additional operating costs. As of Saturday afternoon, the campaign had raised nearly $21,000.
“Our wonderful Fox Valley and Chicagoland supporters continue to donate, not because we haven’t reached our initial goal but because they want to be a part of this inspiring story,” Indivisible Aurora posted on its Facebook Page encouraging the community’s continued support. “They want to be able to say they gave something so that people, young and old, would have their own celebration in their own community to affirm them and who they are.”
To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/2019-aurora-pride-parade
If you’d rather send a check or money order you can send it to Indivisible Aurora, 3015 E. New York St, Suite A2-273, Aurora, IL 60504