Pride flag now flying over Buffalo Grove's Ernie Karge Rotary Village Green

With local and state officials and LGBTQ+ supporters watching, Prairie View resident Bob Pinta hoisted the rainbow Pride flag over the Ernie Karge Rotary Village Green in Buffalo Grove.

  The Pride flag riding side by side with the American flag above the Ernie Karge Rotary Village Green in Buffalo Grove. Steve Zalusky/

It was the second straight year the Pride flag was raised above the green. Last year, several area residents, including Pinta's wife, Carolyn, and their daughter Molly, asked the Buffalo Grove village board to have it fly above village hall.

After considerable discussion, the flag found a home at the village green, where it now hangs beside the American flag.

During last week's ceremony, Carolyn Pinta read a poem that said, "I teach some kids who are out and proud whose families stand and fight. But I teach even more who are shunned at home and told to stay out of the light."

Carolyn Pinta, who guides the Pinta Pride Project and the Buffalo Grove Pride Parade, which took place Sunday, said the goal is to "celebrate, highlight and normalize the LGBTQIA+ community in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago in a family-friendly way."

The Buffalo Grove village board was represented by trustees Dave Weidenfeld, Andrew Stein and Eric Smith.

  Vernon Township Supervisor Jonathan Altenberg and Lake County Board member Marah Altenberg, right, with their daughter Caitlyn. Steve Zalusky/

Vernon Township Supervisor Jonathan Altenberg and his wife, Lake County Board member Marah Altenberg, were on hand with daughter Caitlyn, whose father read an essay about the experiences of an LGBTQ+ teen.

Marah Altenberg said, "We are very, very, very proud parents of an LGBTQ+ teen, who's very, very proud. And I want to say we have always loved living in Buffalo Grove, it is such an inclusive, wonderful community."

State Sen. Adriane Johnson said one of her uncles "had a sex affirmation surgery in the early '70s," and she grew up "being able to embrace everyone."

  Ally Frank addresses the crowd at last week's Pride flag raising in Buffalo Grove. Steve Zalusky/

Speakers also included Eden Juliani, a student at Meridian Middle School; E.J. Brice, who will attend Woodlawn Middle School; and Stevenson High School graduate Ally Frank, who is at Purdue University.

Carolyn Pinta praised Brice for his activism in protesting the opening of the Chick-fil-A in Deerfield.

Finding out that his school's PTO was doing a special lunch where Chick-fil-A food would be served, he wrote a letter to his principal and the PTO. As a result, it was decided not to order Chick-fil-A again.

Eden Juliani, who attended with her two moms, said, "When communities come together to show support for the LGBTQ+ people who live there, it makes our family feel included and welcome."

Frank, who has her own nonprofit, the Be You Tiful Initiative, which offers free beauty and styling services to transgender and nonbinary individuals, said, "I am so excited to be here this year, flying the pride flag after the fight that so many of us so valiantly put up last year. This is just a symbol that shows that you are welcome here just as you are, and you do not have to change who you are to be here."

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