It’s that time of the year again: to pull out your rainbow flag, to be flamboyant with some glitter and makeup, and to gather as many rainbow-colored articles of clothing and accessories as you possibly can. As LGBTQ+ Pride month reaches its midway point, the day of Central New York’s Pride Parade and Festival is quickly approaching, and this year’s celebration is especially important.

The beginning of the gay liberation movement erupted in the late 1960s with the radical demonstrations to be known as the Stonewall Riots. While it is always important to celebrate the ongoing deliverance of the LGBTQ+ community, June 2019 marks  a significant celebration for pride, as it is the 50th anniversary of the riots.

The Stonewall Inn was a mafia-owned bar in Greenwich Village that welcomed individuals who other gay bars turned a cold shoulder to, such as drag queens and transgender people. In the early morning of June 28, 1969, an unjust and violent police raid erupted at the bar, resulting in days of riots to protest the country’s unlawful treatment of the queer community. These demonstrations sparked an increase in LGBTQ+ political activism that would influence future decisions for the rights of the community. Not therelong after, The Stonewall Inn became a symbol of pride and a monument of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

If you weren’t previously planning on walking in the parade or attending the festival, I highly encourage you to reflect on all of the positive changes that have taken place since the Stonewall Uprising, as well as all of the changes that still need to occur in order to rightfully support and equalize the LGBTQ+ community. Where do you fall into all of this? The simple act of just one more person showing up to a pride event, even if they aren’t holding up a flag or clad in a rainbow shirt, speaks volumes and provides one more supportive face for a community that remains marginalized after so many years.

CNY’s 2019 Pride Parade and Festival will take place on Sunday, June 22nd at the Syracuse Inner Harbor located at 328 W Kirkpatrick St. The parade starts at noon and goes until 1:00 pm, when the festival, which goes until 5:00 pm, will begin. To register for the parade, festival, or to be a festival vendor, visit the CNY Pride website here.

The parade and festival are hosted by CNY Pride, a volunteer-based, not-for-profit corporation created in 1996 that organizes events in Syracuse to “encourage, empower, and celebrate” the LGBTQ+ community, as well as their friends, family, and supporters. Along with encouraging participation in the pride parade and festival, CNY Pride is always looking for volunteers and donations. If becoming more involved in helping Syracuse’s LGBTQ+ community is something you’d like to do, find out how here.

By Pearl Cadigan