Juneteenth, Gay Pride Celebrations Allowed In City That Canceled Independence Day Parade
Katsumi Murouchi/Getty Images

A city in Illinois has canceled its annual Fourth of July festivities but allowed celebrations for Juneteenth and LGBT pride.

On Saturday, Evanston, an affluent Chicago suburb, commemorated the abolition of slavery for Juneteenth, which just last week President Joe Biden made a national holiday. The celebration included a parade, along with music performances and food at a local park. Evanston also plans a Gay Pride parade next Saturday.

But the city has canceled its July 4th live celebration over COVID-19.

In March, the city explained why it was canceling Fourth of July festivities:

Based on concern for public health due to the unpredictability of the pandemic’s impact, vaccination rates, and in cooperation with our local authorities, the Trustees of the Evanston Fourth of July Association voted to cancel the Fun Run, Parade, Palatine Concert Band performance and Lakefront Fireworks show on July 4, 2021. However, we are committed and already working toward an Independence Day celebration that will be safe, creative and build community.

Monthly podcasts began in late 2019 titled “Celebrating a Century –The 4th of July in Evanston which will continue and can be heard on your personal devices. If guidelines allow, the Association plans to conduct the traditional morning games and activities in the parks and schools. The 2020 Virtual 4th of July celebration with a parade, concert and fireworks is ready to be replayed. The Celebration Team is considering mini concerts, roving entertainment, neighborhood art and decoration projects to provide the community with a day to remember.

Despite holding celebrations for other holidays and events, the city has not announced changes to its July 4 statement.

Former city resident Tom Bevan, who is the co-founder of RealClearPolitics, noted the situation on Thursday, writing on Twitter: “My home town of Evanston, Illinois is having a Juneteenth Parade and a Gay Pride Parade, but is cancelling the 4th of July Parade & Fireworks.”

In an interview on Fox News, organizer Jamie Black said the city’s Fourth of July Association “made the decision in March based on the information that we had at that time.”

“There are deadlines for permits and to secure the fireworks, as well as taking applications for the parade that happen early in the year,” Black said. “We erred on the side of caution. If things weren’t better, we would have been criticized for being a super spreader event.”

“But in partnership with Evanston Present and Future — a nonprofit that supports community development and education surrounding Black history — the city of Evanston helped promote a Juneteenth parade followed by community-wide celebrations,” Fox reported.

Fox also noted that for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the city last week reported no new cases, adding that nearly 87% of residents ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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