SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Pride festival and parade took place Sunday and thousands of people came equipped with flags, signs and were decked out in rainbow clothing from head to toe.
Though rainbow flags and supportive signs were waving all morning during the parade, for LGBTQ folks, celebrating Pride month isn’t just about the flags and rainbows. It’s about connecting to others in the community, supporting each other and, most importantly, it’s about love and making sure that love is seen and reciprocated in all the spaces that those in the LGBTQ community occupy.
"It’s important that our community is still out here being visible," said Estrella Lucero, program manager at Equality California.
For those in attendance, celebrating Pride was a way to be visible while enjoying the people around them.
"It’s a great experience. You see little kids, you see dogs, you see disabled people. Everyone’s here just enjoying life. That’s what it’s about," said attendee, Preston Lisley.
Enjoying life and celebrating the community’s fight for equality can be a moving experience as it’s a reminder of those that have struggled with acceptance and identity.
“It’s actually very emotional too because you realize how many people that are out there struggling every day just for their identities and existence," Lisley said.
Sacramento Pride is also about change.
Marching to the State Capitol, where politicians make changes to state and local governments, was the best location to affect some of those changes, according to attendees.
“I think it’s important that it happens at the State Capitol. Just looking at the State Capitol and having the Pride thing right in front of it, it’s kind of symbolic to me of what the attitudes in California are,” said attendee, Chris Drayer.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg also marched in the parade and the political significance of Pride was not lost of those in attendance.
“The importance of voting, the importance of civic engagement, this year is an especially important year for our community to be voting in November," stated Lucero.
This Pride celebrated its 35th year but activism and civic engagement in the LGBTQ community started long before with pioneers like gay rights activist from the '60s, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, who was a vanguard in the Stonewall uprising in New York.
There were many reasons to celebrate Pride and many ways.
Some do it through activism, some do it through allyship and some just celebrate by waving their rainbow flags and cheering on a procession of sponsors, members and politicians in a parade. The bottom line though, those who attended Pride left a message of "we're here, some of us are queer but we’re all here to make a difference."
Hundreds of people lined the parade route to cheer and support the LGBT community and #Squad40 was out in full force showing our Pride. FOX40 was a sponsor of the event and also had a booth at the festival.