MODESTO — The organizer behind a “straight pride” event in Modesto says it’s happening on Saturday with or without the required permit.
The city denied the group’s request for a permit earlier this month.
“We’re not going to be stopped by it in any way,” National Straight Pride Coalition founder Don Grundmann said. “We’re still going to have the event and have our first amendment rights and have our views expressed and get our views out. This is the first of many.”
Grundmann did not say where the event would take place on. Organizers say the location would be announced sometime Saturday morning.
“We’re going to have a parade and that’s going to be our primary mission is to have that parade in multiple outlets throughout the city. We’re just peaceful people walking down the streets who want to express our first amendment rights,” Grundmann said.
He and his supporters have sparked backlash in recent weeks, with critics calling them a hate group with a mission to divide and incite violence. Up until recently, the group’s website claimed to promote the superiority of whiteness and Western civilization, among other things.
Dozens of people gathered before Modesto City Hall on Thursday, pledging to counter-protest any straight pride event that takes place this weekend.
“We’re just going to peacefully demonstrate and let them know they’re not welcome here and kind of drown them out,” Max Reed, of the Modesto Non-Violent Collective, told FOX40.
The Modesto Non-Violent Collective says it stands up for values that they say better represent the city, like inclusion, peace and love.
“We do not want that to represent who we are. We are trying to show the best side of who we are and Modesto is all about love and acceptance,” supporter Chris Holland said.
Meanwhile, the City of Modesto says city leaders and police are standing ready for whatever happens.