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ILLINOIS — Juneteenth events are the top priority throughout Illinois this weekend, especially now that the federal goverment and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker have declared June 19 official paid holiday, and the federal government also fast-tracked its -tracking a federal holiday designation, too, for the formal abolition of slavery.

Carbondale, the Quad Cities and Springfield are among the communities with large Juneteenth recognitions this year, starting Friday and continuing through Sunday. In addition, the Black and Proud IV online comedy extravaganza Sunday showcases Black, queer performers from across the country evening.

Meanwhile, Pride celebrations continue for Illinoisans tonight in the Quad Cities with Pride night at the Modern Woodmen ballpark; Saturday with Urbana’s annual Pride event; and the kick-off this weekend of Pride Week in Dubuque, just across the northwest Illinois/Iowa border. In addition the Bisexual Queer Alliance of Chicago kicks off a series of events focused on bisexual pride tonight with an online variety show and karaoke party. The Alliance also hosts a June 21 virtual showing of “The Bisexual.” You can see the full array of intersectional, progressive and LGBTQ-affirming events in Illinois through the Illinois Events calendar link here.

Read below in Community Briefs-Illinois about progress in police relations in Rock Island; expanded health care in Bloomington-Normal; the challenges already faced in Buffalo Grove and other communities by Illinoisans trying to honor Pride Month; and more.

BELLEVILLE — Southern Illinois and the border it shares with Missouri now have three solid Pride opportunities coming later this summer: Metro East Pride will hold its royalty pageant July 17, and Pride St. Louis has announced its annual festival coming Aug. 27-29, reports the Illinois Eagle. Thirdly, Metro East Pride in Belleville has finalized its Pride schedule for Oct. 2 and 3.

BLOOMINGTON — A Pride group and a Unitarian Universalist Church are uniting efforts to provide binders, shapers and other gender-affirming apparel to central Illinoisans, reports the Pantagraph. The Prairie Pride Coalition is taking applications for the program here, reports the paper.


BUFFALO GROVE — Despite first receiving a request to fly the Pride rainbow flag in June, the city of Buffalo Grove is among the few Illinois cities to refuse the request, reports Fox32 in Chicago. The city ended up “compromising” and flying the flag at its Rotary Village Hall, but protests continue, reports Yahoo News. Arlington Heights has also chosen to fly the Pride rainbow flag at a location other than City Hall, reports the Daily Herald.

HANOVER PARK — The Juneteenth celebration in this Chicago suburb features the added touch of LGBTQ+ services in its resources fair. Kenneth Young Center and Communities for Positive Youth Development are joining together to present an event that also features a bouncy house, speakers, substance use recovery and support, and more. Learn more here.

MACOMB COUNTY — The Pride organization just outside of Chicago has formalized itself as of June 13, the group reports on its Facebook page. The county is holding its second annual Pride Fest June 27 and has also committed to coordinating a “weekly LGBTQIA Night at a local bar; a monthly LGBTQIA coffeehouse gathering; an LGBTQIA story hour at the Macomb Public Library (age appropriate materials, of course); a yearly film festival in the winter; and a yearly Pride parade.”

MOLINETwisted Bokay Balloons, which provides celebratory and artistic balloons for special events, has relocated from Rock Island to Moline, Owned by Patti Altobelli, Twisted Bokay creates everything from bouquets and table centerpieces, to elaborate full-room decorations. The new, larger location is at 2113 16th St., Moline. Twisted Bokay also has a section of its store devoted to vape sales. For more information see, Twisted Bokay’s website.

NORMALCentral Illinois Friends, based in Peoria, continues to expand LGBTQ-affirming health care, starting a second clinic in Normal this Friday, reports the Illinois Eagle. The clinics provide care specializing in HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, transgender-focused care, and more.

NORTH CENTRAL ILLINOIS AND DUBUQUE, IA — You have six opportunities to celebrate Pride in Dubuque. just over the Illinois/Iowa border, this year, starting June 19. A pass to all events is available for $100 — or you can choose a la carte from the events, all of which are listed here at Key City Pride’s website. The week of events includes bingo, a river cruise, a “friends and family night,” a bar crawl, brunch, and the big parade and festival Saturday. You can also check out the group’s Facebook page for the latest. In addition you can celebrate Juneteenth in Dubuque at noon with the Multicultural Family Center in a family-friendly event featuring Black-owned businesses, food, music, games and more. Later, at 10 p.m., take in a Juneteenth Drag Showcase at The Driftless Inn featuring some of the region’s top Black drag performers.

QUAD CITIES — In-person gatherings have returned for two intersectional, progressive places of faith. Both the UUC of the Quad Cities and the MCC of the Quad Cities, allies in forming the One Human Family anti-hate group, are now meeting both in person and online. Both congregations met for more than a year online only. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation is part of a worldwide non-denominational organization focused on social justice. The Metropolitan Community Church organization is a worldwide coalition of LGBTQ-identified Christian churches that like Unitarian Universalists also welcome people of all faiths, including atheists. Click on their Facebook pages, linked above, to learn more, or see the TRM Events Calendar.

QUAD CITIES — Two events in the Quad Cities are focused on helping Black and Brown youth. Coming June 22, several Quad Cities organizations are hosting an online webinar titled “Race, Adolescence and Trauma.” The event is led by Kristin Henning of Georgetown Law, exploring how racial disparities in education affect children of color. The webinar is free and is presented by One Human Family, UUC of the Quad Cities, Metrocom NAACP of Davenport, and Progressive Action for the Common Good. In addition, several Quad Cities groups are joining together to present “Pushout,” a documentary about “the criminalization of Black girls in schools.” The film shows July 15 in Bettendorf; Aug. 11 in Rock Island; and Aug. 14 in Moline. The screenings are presented by the Quad Cities Interfaith Council, and the Davenport Civil Rights Commission. Watch the Facebook page for more details.


ROCK ISLAND AND QUAD CITIES — A discussion on whether to form a police community relations commission in Rock Island will take place June 28, says Thurgood Brooks, who a former mayoral candidate who narrowly lost to Mayor Mike Thoms in an April election. Brooks has been pushing for such a commission since summer 2020. The idea gained new momentum following a fatal police shooting earlier this year, and a press to review the police department’s foot pursuit policy.