Chicago Pride Parade Attendance

This graphic above shows the increase of attendees at the Chicago Pride Parade from 1985-2014. The bolded years mark significant events for which attendance spiked with a lasting impact.

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Since its beginning, June 28th, 1970, the Chicago Pride Parade is celebrated annually in the Windy City; promoting acceptance in support for the LGBTQ+ community. Elevating from a simple march from Washington Square Park to the Water Tower, the parade has expanded and grown to amass a large crowd of Chicagoans gathering for a weekend filled with love and positivity. The first Chicago Pride Parade had an approximate attendance of 200 citizens. However, upon increased support, within 15 years, the crowd would grow to an attendance of 35,000.

Despite attendance having a steady increase for many years, the Chicago Pride Parade experienced a five year period where attendance appeared stagnant. An outpouring of Chicagoans at the 2011 parade showed a hefty increase in attendance even after an unfortunate hate crime was committed towards the event. It was revealed that 51 parade floats were vandalized before the event, intending to prevent the parade from continuing. That said, on account of two floats that were not able to be repaired, floats were fixed and the parade continued as intended.

Furthermore, the Chicago Pride Parade experience at the time a record-breaking attendance with 750,000 attendees. Love overcame the hate the was intended to break an unbreakable community. Not to mention, the following 2012 parade included an expanded route due to overcrowding at the 2011 parade.

The 2013 44th Chicago Pride Parade impressively accounts for a million Chicagoans in attendance at the celebration. That year saw the Chicago LGBTQ+ community advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage. With the approaching Supreme Court decision to followthrough with eliminating a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the parade held its largest crowd to date in advocating for same-sex love. By the following year, at the 45th Chicago Pride Parade, the same-sex marriage legislation was in full effect June 1, 2014. The crowd once again surged in the millions.

Continuous activism, donations, and political participation amongst the LGBTQ+ community are paving a way for the Chicago Pride Parade to grow and continue to be a beacon for inclusion and outreach in the Chicagoland area.

Chicago Pride Parade Attendance

Quinn: Pensions Threatening MAP Grant Program

Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo/Bob Smith)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.

“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.

“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more

DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.

Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn. 

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.

“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.” 

Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.

“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025.

In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required. 

Quinn: Pensions Threatening MAP Grant Program