How often during our day do we think about our safety? How often to you think about your safety when you attend a community event? Today was one of those days when safety was something on my mind.
With the escalation of violence towards LGBTQ individuals and groups, celebrating Pride can be one of those events has the potential to be a target for someone with hate on their heart and violence in their head.
The headlines are littered with accounts of individuals and hate groups confronting and sometimes evenly violently attacking peaceful protests and celebrations. Even today, gun carrying Neo-Nazis showed up at the Detroit Pride Festival. Fortunately Detroit Police acted quickly to contain the group.
As many Pride events happen though out the country and the world this month, a huge kudos go out to the City of Aurora, Illinois and the Aurora Police Department for taking measures to make sure that everyone who participated and observed the second annual Aurora Pride Parade was in a safe place. One might think that the measures taken would be a little over kill, but Aurora doesn't take lightly the safety of their residents and those who come from all over to visit. Each measure taken was to addressed a very real and potentially violent scenario.
Aurora SRT officers were positioned on roof tops to provide an eagle eyed view of the parade route and potential threats from both within the crowd and beyond the celebration area.
Police officers also had a strong visible presence all along the parade route.
Anytime 15,000 people come together, security can always be an issue. But thanks to the efforts of Aurora Pride, the City of Aurora and the Aurora Police Department, those 15,000 attendees at today's parade had an affirming and safe environment to celebrate Pride!
Fifty years after the Stonewall Riots, which were a result of continued police harassment of the most marginalized portion of LGBTQ community in New York, it warms my heart that at least some police agencies have come to understand and accept us.
"It's all about love. It's about inclusion, about engagement, and everyone matters. And if we can be a part of that, that's what we're going to do." Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman