In June, Bostonians celebrated the 46th annual Pride Month, which featured the annual Pride Parade from Copley Square to City Hall Plaza, the Pride Festival on City Hall Plaza, and the Pride Block Parties in the Back Bay and Jamaica Plain. As Boston Pride nears its half-century, attendance and support continues to grow with the Parade breaking numerous records for spectators and participation. This year’s festivities were also marked, however, by continued resolve and solidarity, as the organization’s annual Block Parties took place merely hours after the tragedy in Orlando on June 12th.
Community members voted on this year’s theme, Solidarity Through Pride, a particularly relevant foundation upon which the Boston’s LGBTQ+ community could build upon to amplify its message of love and unity. Boston Pride president Sylvain Bruni describes the theme as a “call for solidarity and support among all parts of our community.” This year’s Pride Month featured a stronger emphasis on intersectionality, the overlapping of social identities, and attendees found themselves able to participate in Youth Pride, Latin@ Pride, and Black Pride, complementary programs seeking to provide space for historically underrepresented identities.
Back Bay, City Hall Plaza, Jamaica Plain, and the numerous other locales that hosted Pride Month events found themselves spilling over in great celebration. This year, the Pride Parade, the most famous and historic event of Pride Month, had an estimated 500,000 spectators, 35,000 marchers, 257 contingents, and 28 floats, making it the parade with the greatest number of participants in the organization’s history.
The attacks on the gay community on June 12th added an air of poignancy and gravity to the rest of Pride Month, but the community was able to find strength in their solidarity, creating space for both reflection and celebration. The Back Bay and Jamaica Plain Block Parties held moments of silence for the victims their families, and the LGBTQ+ community at large. Mayor Marty Walsh joined Boston Pride to host a vigil on City Hall Plaza on the Monday after the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Also in attendance were Governor Charlie Baker and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Bob Deleo.
For attendees, the celebratory spirit of Pride Month is indescribable, and this year’s Pride astutely reflected both the love and camaraderie of the LGBTQ+ community and the profound struggle they face to overcome bias and fear.
Here at O’Neill and Associates, we are proud to partner with Boston Pride as they provide leadership and hope.