Villages plan for two Pride events in June

Since its inaugural Pride event in June 2017, Lighthouse LGBTQ+ has brought the celebration from its confines in the city, to the suburban corners of Homewood and Flossmoor.
Homewood will host the third annual Lighthouse Pride Party from 5 to 9 p.m. on June 28, and Flossmoor will host its first Pride Party and Concert from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 21. 
  High School teacher J.R.
  Rose gives a hug to former
  H-F student Callisto
  Wojcikowski of Homewood
  during the second annual
  Pride Fest in Flossmoor
  last year.
 (Chronicle file 
In 2018, Lighthouse’s second Pride event saw an increase in participation by the hundreds. This year, Stephanie Wright, an organization co-founder, says Lighthouse is hoping to continue to grow with its Pride Party on Martin Square in Homewood.
“In 2017 we hoped to have at least 50 people attend our first Pride party. You can imagine our shock and surprise when nearly 400 were in attendance. The next year we grew to over 700 guests, and this June we hope to continue the trend and grow to over 1,000.”
The Lighthouse Pride Party on Martin Avenue in downtown Homewood will start at 5 p.m. with Wright giving opening remarks at 6 p.m. Music begins at 6:30 p.m. with members of the Homewood-Flossmoor High School choirs singing a variety of numbers from musicals. H-F’s own The Eppersons will perform at 7 p.m. and The Lakeside Pride Ukulele Ensemble closes the evening from 8 to 9 p.m. 
Food vendors will include Cilantro, Mae’s Que House Food Truck, Empanadus, Sno Daze Tropical Sno, The Sunshine Kitchen, Aurelio’s Pizza, Panda Cookies and LaVoute Bistro and Bar.
Lighthouse Pride Party will feature free activities, including hair spray color sponsored by Jonathan Kane Salon & Spa, face painting sponsored by John Harrell State Farm Insurance and a rainbow craft sponsored by The Village of Homewood. Cookie decorating, sponsored by Panda Baby, will be available with a donation to Lighthouse.
Lighthouse member and H-F High School alum Jimmy Austin says Pride is more than a party. It’s activist roots that draw the big crowds.
“Pride is both a celebration and a protest,” he said. “As much as this is a party to celebrate the progress that we’ve made in our local and LGBTQ+ community, it is also a protest of the divisive policies and rhetoric that have negatively impacted the LGBTQ+ for decades. As long as LGBTQ+ people are facing discrimination, pride parties, no matter how big or small, are still relevant.”
This year, the Homewood Business Association has sponsored its Pride Flag Initiative, a fundraising event for Lighthouse LGBTQ+ enabling local businesses to fly a rainbow flag in a show of solidarity with the community. 
Proceeds from the flag sales will benefit Lighthouse LGBTQ+ and HBA. All proceeds from the Lighthouse Pride Party go to Lighthouse LGBTQ+.
Austin cites visible displays of solidarity as one way to manage harm.
“Visibly showing solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community can make an immeasurable impact on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in our community,” Austin said. 
With the Lighthouse event moving from Flossmoor Community Church to downtown Homewood, the Village of Flossmoor is hosting its first Pride event concert to raise money for Lighthouse LGBTQ+, and reminds residents that both communities stand unified in solidarity.
“This is the first year of the concert but we’re looking forward to this being the first of many,” Flossmoor Communications Manager Amy Kent said. “We’re hosting the concert as an add-on to all the other amazing Pride events in the area, but in a way that allows Flossmoor residents to celebrate within their own community. … We wanted to add something to assure LGBTQ+ individuals and families that Flossmoor welcomes and supports them in every way.”
The event from 6 to 10 P.m in downtown Flossmoor will feature a performance by Catfight, an all-women rock band.
Lighthouse LGBTQ+ provides free support for teens and young adults in the South Suburbs who are processing their sexual and gender identity. Lighthouse also provides special programming throughout the year for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

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