PRIDE Parade Enlivens LGBTQ Community

By Karen Ortega

Las Vegas PRIDE parade had an important role in the LGBTQ’s community expression of its own pride.

On Oct. 20 in Downtown Las Vegas there were hundreds of people lining the streets in support of equality, protections, rights and freedoms. The parade route began at Gass Avenue and headed north along 4th Street to Ogden Avenue.

This year’s PRIDE Night Parade featured Las Vegas’ gay and straight business community, nonprofit organizations, LGBTQ service agencies, and civic groups and churches, according to its website.

In 1969 the LGBTQ community fought back against police violence towards patrons of a gay bar called Stonewall Inn. “Pride is a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots,” said Dr. Joseph Hassert, instructor of communication at CSN and adviser of the Queer Inclusive College Campus Committee.

“We stand on the struggles and accomplishments of our LGBTQ ancestors and we should honor them by continuing to fight and continuing to expand the rights and freedoms of all,” Hassert said. “While we are entering a period where some of our progress is being stalled or reversed, history tells us that if we stick together and be unapologetically proud of who we are, we will not only survive, we will thrive.”

“The PRIDE celebration is an important aspect of our community because it helps remind us of our history,” said George Solorio, vice president of the PRIDE parade’s committee. “We are here to show the world that we exist and that we will not go anywhere.”

Solorio was exceptionally pleased to see CSN students involved in their first Pride Night Parade. “It brings me a lot of happiness and I feel very proud that they stand strong.”

CSN students and faculty from the Queer Inclusive College Campus Committee, Safe Zone Allies and the Gender Sexuality Alliance fully marched alongside other organizations as they spread their vibrant message of love, peace and acceptance.

“I loved hearing all the parade watchers cheering for our students and our school,” Hassert said. “At one point, we led a huge crowd in chanting C-S-N.”

“I think the message that Pride Parade helps us to express is how accepting our college and club are towards the LGBT community and that there is a safe place for people in this community to be themselves,” said Emilia Cervantes, secretary of GSA.

“My favorite thing about PRIDE is the people,” said Emma Butler, president of GSA. “The PRIDE parade means to me that you get to be the person you want to be. Marching in the parade just adds a more comfortable feeling to be yourself. The parade was fantastic. I had a blast being silly and seeing my girlfriend in the crowd to support me as I walked in the parade.”

Protesters were at the event.

“When we saw protestors, our club cheered louder and we just continued to walk,” Cervantes said.

Solorio added, “There were a few members of the crowd who stood in front of the protestors covering their signs with rainbow flags. That was a great sight to behold.”

During the parade flags flew high with colors representing important values for this community.

According to the website U.S. Flags, in 1978 Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed a flag with six stripes representing the six colors of the rainbow with each color embodying its own significance: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and peace and purple for spirit.

“The LGBT pride flag means to me unity, trust, love and hope,” Butler said. “When I wear a rainbow or see a rainbow I believe that change is possible and that people care for each other.”

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