Tens of thousands of people around the country participated in the March for Equality on Sunday afternoon, June 11th, with the largest group of marchers taking to the streets in Washington, D.C.
“The march aimed to bring together and affirm members of LGBTQ communities and their allies to highlight discrimination and call for expanding LGBTQ rights, according to march co-chairs,” reported PBS’ Jenna Gray.
In St. Petersburg, dozens of marchers gathered in Seminole Park on Sunday morning to rally in support of the national movement. Nearly 70 people showed up for the march down Central Ave, through the Grand Central District, home to the city’s LGBTQ+ hub. Voices were mighty and colors were bright as marchers chanted, “Love not hate makes America great” and “We’re here, we’re queer, and we won’t live in fear.”
Brian Longstreth, Tom Woodard and a handful of others helped Mandy Keyes organize the afternoon rally and march.
“Someone posted in a Facebook group for Grand Central District business owners about the national march, and asked if anyone knew of one happening in St. Pete,” said Keyes. “I started posting in women’s march groups and #resistance type groups, asking around, and nobody was planning one. I was talking with Tracy from Queenshead and I’m like, we need to figure out where this is happening, because it needs to be in the Grand Central District.”
“So I threw up a Facebook event and flyer, then started working on getting the permits for Seminole Park in Kenwood, getting the insurance squared away, getting the assembly permit approved, and putting up a GoFundMe to pay for those pieces.”
“We did expect a slightly bigger crowd, but I think the threat of rain might have scared some people off.” Although organizers had hoped for a larger crowd, those who attended made their voices heard.
“I think we accomplished what we set out to do; feel the solidarity with the National Equality March, reaffirm that it’s an integral part of the Grand Central District, and also acknowledge that love is stronger than hate, coming so close to the anniversary of Pulse. I tried to keep the chants very uplifting and positive, and I loved that Frank brought those giant colorful flags, those sure made a statement!”
City Councilman Steve Kornell and Councilwoman Amy Foster also said a few words during the rally before the marchers set off toward Central Ave.
Following the walk, the Community Cafe hosted an Equality March Party with music by DLaran and Bri Wertman.
The National March included people from across the country. According to Gray, “Some participants said they marched to celebrate friends and family, while others wanted to demonstrate resistance to President Donald Trump’s administration.”
In Florida, many marched to remember the Pulse Night Club victims, who lost their lives a year ago last weekend. Marchers held signs that read, “Remember Pulse #HonorThemWithAction.”
To read the full PBS article, click here.