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Rainbow flag raised at Daley Plaza as Pride Month begins

“This month is about celebrating what we have achieved but also recognizing that there’s still a lot of work left to be done,” said Kevin Morrison, Cook County’s first openly LGBTQ commissioner.

A rainbow flag will fly in Daley Plaza throughout June.
A rainbow flag will fly in Daley Plaza throughout June.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison had hoped to hoist a rainbow flag during his first Pride Month in office in 2019 but ran into trouble obtaining one large enough to fly above Daley Plaza.

The flag-raising ceremony was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Finally, a rainbow Pride flag was hoisted at Daley Plaza on Tuesday to mark the start of Pride Month as Morrison, other commissioners and city officials celebrated its significance.

“No matter who you love, you are welcome in Cook County,” said Morrison, the first LGBTQ person elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

“Growing up in Elk Grove Village, I never thought I would get the opportunity to serve my community as an elected official simply because I was part of the LGBTQ community,” Morrison said. “Now, I’m proud to do the hard work to ensure LGBTQ equality in Cook County.”

Kevin B. Morrison, County Board Commissioner, speaking at a press conference to mark beginning of Pride Month by raising rainbow flag in Daley Plaza.
Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

The County Board is set to vote this month on Morrison’s ordinance to make county documents and forms gender-inclusive. Last year, Morrison helped amend the county’s human rights ordinance, ensuring easier access for transgender people to use bathrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity.

Lamenting a number of anti-transgender legislation passed in the last year, Stephanie Skora, associative executive director of the Brave Space Alliance, spoke on the importance of improving the lives of transgender people locally.

“Just because we’re in Cook County doesn’t mean that we’re completely free of anti-trans hatred or antagonism,” Skora said. “Trans people are going to keep fighting, not just to survive, but thrive.”

“We have to credit those who fought the battle before us to bring us the rights and protections we have today. This month is about celebrating what we have achieved but also recognizing that there’s still a lot of work left to be done,” Morrison said.

While Chicago’s Pride parade has moved to October due to COVID-19, many Pride events will be held this month including the two-day Grant Park music festival Pride in the Park on June 26 and 27.