The city where a Juneteenth parade is fine, but 4th of July parade is canceled

The city where a Juneteenth parade is fine, but 4th of July parade is canceled
Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

Now that Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday, people have an excuse to schedule yet another parade every year. (They were already doing it in Texas, but it was more of a localized event.) But how many parades would be considered too many? We may be finding out the answer to that question in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. You see, after President Biden signed the law creating Juneteenth as a federal holiday, Evanston quickly launched a celebration, including a parade. And since June is also gay pride month, the city is planning a Gay Pride parade for next weekend. And the week after that will be the 4th of July. But the magic maximum number of parades might be three because there will be no parade on Independence Day. Let’s see if we can’t figure out what’s going on in Evanston. (Daily Wire)

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.

The city sort of has an explanation as to why things are playing out this way, and it almost makes sense if you don’t think about it for very long. The original decision to cancel the parade again (the 2020 parade was canceled for obvious reasons) was made back in March. And to be fair, at that point, nobody was entirely sure how fast the vaccine rollout would be or where things would stand by July, so it’s not unfair to claim that the Independence Day parade was canceled out of an abundance of caution. Fair enough.

But now Evanston is clearly open for business again and giving the all-clear signal. Why not just put the parade back on the calendar? That’s where parade organizer Jamie Black starts to go off the beam. He explained that it wouldn’t be practical or perhaps even possible to pull off the parade because of logistical challenges including needing a parade permit.

“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.”

First of all, the fireworks display and the parade are two different things. You can have one without the other. If they didn’t reserve a professional fireworks company to come put on a show and tried to do so now, it’s likely that wouldn’t be able to find one. Fair enough.

But that doesn’t stop you from having a parade. As for the permits, they certainly seemed to throw together that Juneteenth parade in record time. Did they have a permit? Or did the city just look the other way? And it’s not as if getting a permit for a parade is some herculean task, particularly when there are still a couple of weeks to go. The Mayor could walk a permit through in one day if sufficiently motivated.

This is definitely not a good look for the municipal government of Evanston. Either find a way to allow all three parades to go forward or tell them all to wait until next year. This didn’t have to be complicated. But when you let the more “woke” parades fill the streets and forbid a similar celebration recognizing the founding of our nation, you’re sending a message. And it’s not a good one.

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David Strom 6:31 PM on November 27, 2023