drag march for change takes over streets of lakeview
photo credit // steven koch
'Through solidarity and community, we can’t be defeated,' says organizer Jo Mama
Chicago, IL -
Drag March for Change, an annual event that highlights the Chicago LGBTQ community of color, took over the streets of Lakeview on Sunday, June 13.
“We're not done,” organizer Joe Lewis - known as Jo Mama - said prior to the march. “That is a huge part of today, there is still so much work to be done.”
Demonstrators marched from W. Belmont Ave., along N. Halsted St., to W. Grace Ave.
The event culminated with soapbox speeches in support of the larger Black Lives Matter movement and demand justice against police and other aggressors of who target people of color, LGBTQ persons, and stand up against anti-transgender violence and deaths.
The list of speakers included Dida Ritz and The Vixen, both RuPaul's Drag Race alumni; The Miss Toto; Lucy Stoole; Drag Council co-founder Lil Nicki; Molasses Collective member Cae Monae; and organizer Jo MaMa.
This is the second such event which organizers hope to continue as an annual affair—led by the Chicago drag community.
Last year, the event blasted what is popularly known as the 'Boystown' community for its own racism—in events, programming, policing, and neighborhood attitudes toward people of color and transgender persons.
Lewis said he has seen progress.
“Every time I go out on the strip lately, there [are] more faces of color,” he said. “It's great to see such diversity.”
He also credited LGBTQ bar owners.
“Everyone is really committed to a change, they've done so by proper hiring practices and a commitment to diversity,” Lewis said.
“Through solidarity and community, we can't be defeated.”