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Flag-raising celebrates Pride weekend in Aurora

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Raising the Pride flag in downtown Aurora has become a tradition.

For the third year, city officials raised the flag in One Aurora Plaza on Friday, the beginning of Pride weekend in Aurora.

In addition, Mayor Richard Irvin read a proclamation declaring June Pride Month in Aurora.

“You are part of our community,” Irvin said.

As usual, the flag-raising Friday morning was a little business, a little entertainment, a little fun and a lot of camaraderie. At the event, the city recognized businesses and individuals for their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Pride and Excellence Awards went to Altiro Restaurant, Rich Jacobs and Keri Train.

Altiro, a Latin fusion restaurant at Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, is owned by Roberto Avila and Erika Villanueva. The restaurant has hosted brunches and initiatives supportive of the LGBTQ+ community in Aurora, city officials said. The restaurant has hosted events by the Aurora LGBTQ Advisory Board.

Jacobs is the chief of staff of Aurora’s alderman’s office, and Irvin lauded the talent Jacobs “brings to the team.”

“He makes things happen,” Irvin said.

Jacobs has worked for the Aurora alderman’s office for three years. Previous to that, he worked for many elected officials, including state Sens. Christina Castro and Mike Noland.

In introducing him, Clayton Muhammad, Aurora’s chief communications and equity officer, said Jacobs and his husband, 16th Circuit Court Judge John Dalton, “have worked together to make a more inclusive community for LGBTQ youth and adults.”

In accepting the award, Jacobs said he has felt truly “welcome” and “supported” in Aurora.

Also receiving a Pride and Excellence Award was Keri Traid, a well-known Chicago area drag performer who lives in Aurora. Traid was the 2023 Miss Chicago Trans Visibility, and last year’s grand marshal of the Aurora Pride Parade.

Traid also is a member of Aurora’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.

“As a young child, I could never have predicted where life would take me, but I always knew I wanted to make a difference,” said Traid. “Now, I’m proud to be an advocate for my community and to find my true self as a trans woman, a Black trans woman.”

The flag-raising ceremony opened Pride weekend in Aurora, which features several events, including the annual Pride Parade at noon on Sunday in downtown Aurora.

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