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GLN @ the HUGE Immigrant Rights March

May 1, 2006 - Chicago Loop

In a crowd of 400,000, according to the police, and 700,000, according to the organizers, our contingent of openly Lesbian and Gay people supporting immigrant rights was warmly received.

March Floods the Loop

Looking carefully in the distance, you can see the purple GLN banner.

GLN in the Loop

In contrast to the stereotypes about what we might expect from a predominantly Roman Catholic crowd, the support we received was so effusive as to be embarrassing – in the huge crowd, we heard only one anti-gay comment all day long.

In Grant Park

Aside from the basic issue of solidarity (you can’t expect it yourselves if you don’t extend it to others), Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans people of all races have a direct interest in real immigration reform. For example, asylum provisions for our people fleeing repression in other countries is a joke – not unexpected given the fact that the U.S. actively supports countries which brutally repress gays: Saudi Arabia executing our people, Nigeria preparing to pass a law to do the same (supported by the local Anglican Church), and Poland allowing fascist thugs to attack demonstrations of gay people.

Looking east towards the Lake

Looking in both directions from the Loop el (here looking east towards Lake Michigan), people fill the street as far as the eye (and camera) can see.

As far as the eye can see, Randolph St (5)

As far as the eye can see, Randolph St (7)

While there was a profusion of American flags in the ranks, not everyone was buying the uber-patriotic road to winning equal rights . . .

American flag

The issue of trying to be “more patriotic than thou” is just one of many coming to the fore as the burgeoning movement develops more political definition. It poses a basic question that other movements before have faced: do you win rights by attempting to ingratiate yourself with your oppressors by adopting their myths about an all-encompassing “national interest,” read patriotism, or does a movement need to reject that ideology in order to advance?

At the start of World War I, most of the African American movement answered this question by embracing patriotism and the war effort in hopes that there would be a quid pro quo in the form of more rights for their people. But in spite of their sacrifices during the war, the bloody pogroms and other racism endured by African Americans at the end of the war was virtually without precedent even in the history of the United States.

NOT EVERYONE was happy to see the multitude of immigration rights marchers.

Not very pleased @ the Union League Club

Goons guarded the posh Union League Club from demonstrators, and were really pleased that I took so long waiting for them to get into just the right scowling poses.

Not very pleased @ the Union League Club 2

At both our starting point at the Division/Milwaukee/Ashland Triangle and our ending point five miles later in Grant Park, numerous individuals and couples came up to us asking to have their pictures taken in front of our banner.

Posing @ the banner

Polish American couple

Entering Grant Park (2)

While we were the only organized contingent of LGBT people we could see, many individuals came with their own Pride flags and pro-gay/pro-immigrant rights signs.

Pride Flag

As far as the eye can see, Randolph St (3)

Support Immigrant Rights

In Grant Park (4)

It was a VERY long march, but people were in great spirits despite the length.

Entering Grant Park (3)

Roger, Art & Craig

Bob & Art

Pueblo Unito

We are Workers, not criminals

In Grant Park


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