Boston Pride 2018 Recap

Pride RooftopBoston Pride Week 2018 was one for the record books as the 48th anniversary of Pride celebrations throughout the week, including the Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 9, saw almost one million participants at a series of 50+ events.  This year’s historic parade included more than 55,000 marchers from 360 contingents who marched along the 2.27-mile route from Copley Square the City Hall Plaza lined with an estimated 750,000 spectators.  The Pride Festival at City Hall Plaza was filled with activity all day long including 130 vendors, a Family Fun Zone and headline entertainers Martha Wash and Big Freedia, who drew huge crowds.

One of the highlights of the Pride Parade was the contingent of Mayors from across the country who were hosted by Mayor Martin J. Walsh for the annual United States Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston.  Mayor Walsh marched with 100 mayors who all wore rainbow sashes in support of the LGBTQ community. The Mayors were active on social media throughout the parade, helping Boston Pride trend nationally on Twitter. The Parade also included Grand Marshal, Freedom for All Massachusetts, the coalition of organizations fighting the repeal of the public accommodations law that would remove transgender rights.

 “The parade was both a celebration of the LGBTQ community and also a reflection of this year’s Pride theme – Rainbow Resistance  – and demonstrated that we can never be Pride Groupsilent because our rights are being threatened both here at home and in Washington DC,” said Sylvain Bruni, president of Boston Pride. “We are wicked proud of our community and allies for their outpouring of support during Boston Pride Week 2018.”

The Parade also included a remembrance contingent to honor 11 transgender people who were fatally shot or killed by other violent means so far in 2018.

Pride Week included more than 50 events throughout the community, which kicked off with the annual Rainbow Pride Flag Raising on City Hall Plaza, followed by Pride Day @ Faneuil Hall, the High Heel Dash for Charity, Pride Political Forum on the repeal of the public accommodation law, Pride Lights, Pride Night @ Fenway, Pride Night @ The Revolution, block parties in the Back Bay and Jamaica Plain and the Official Pride Closing Party at The Grand.

Pride Sponsors helped to fund costs associated with the parade, festival and other free public events, and 10 percent of all sponsorships are dedicated to the Boston Pride Community Fund, which supports grassroots LGBTQ organizations.  Since 2016, Boston Pride has awarded over $50,000 to 35 local grassroots organizations, supporting the mission of promoting social justice for the LGBTQ community.

Boston Pride’s Official Broadcast Partner NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and necn helped spread awareness of Pride Week through special programming, news stories, live coverage, moderating events and had a significant presence in the Pride Parade with The Weather Warrior and World Cup vehicles accompanying the station’s parade marchers.

“Boston Pride wants to thank our supporters and volunteers for making Pride Week 2018 a resounding success. We often say that ‘it’s always someone’s first Pride’ and that’s why we are committed to do what we do every year for the LGBTQ community,” said Bruni.

About Boston Pride

Boston Pride produces events and activities to achieve inclusivity, equality, respect, and awareness in Greater Boston and beyond. Fostering diversity, unity, visibility and dignity, we educate, communicate and advocate by building and strengthening community connections. Boston Pride Week 2019 will be held May 31 – June 9.

Interview with Boston Pride’s Jessie DeStefano – Social Media Manager, Boston Pride Guide Co-Editor-in-Chief

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Boston Pride Week will be held June 1 – June 10 and the Pride Committee is gearing up for lots of events, programs and festivities for the LGBTQ community and its allies. Pride Week culminates with the annual Pride Parade, New England’s largest continually operating parade that features 20,000 marchers, hundreds of floats and an estimated 500-thousand spectators that line the route from the Back Bay to the South End to Beacon Hill ending at City Hall Plaza where the Pride Festival takes place. O’Neill and Associates SVP Ann Murphy spoke to Pride Committee Member Jessie DeStefano who gave us an update on Boston Pride Week.

BOSTON PRIDE WEEK: STRONGER TOGETHER

Boston Pride kicked off Pride Week on Friday, June 3 with the annual Pride Flag Raising at noon at City Hall Plaza hosted by Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The Pride Flag Raising Ceremony on City Hall Plaza honors the legacy of the late Gilbert Baker who designed the first rainbow flag in 1978 which became a symbol of the LGBTQ rights movement. The flag is a design of one of his original rainbow flags with 8 colors that symbolized the LGBTQ rights movement.

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In addition, one of Baker’s original flag designs will be displayed in the Pride Parade as a testament to his grassroots advocacy on behalf of all LGBTQ people.  The Pride Flag Raising will also recognize this year’s Grand Marshal Kristen Porter and Honorary Marshals (posthumous), Norman Hill, Dr. Judy Bradford and John Michael Gray.

This year’s theme, “Stronger Together,” focuses on the current climate of political uncertainty and marginalization of LGBTQ people. It stresses the imperative that the diverse groups that comprise the LGBTQ community stand together and fight for civil rights for all.  “Stronger Together” is a call to action for all in the LGBTQ community and for its allies.

Pride Week is June 2-11 with the main events taking place on Saturday, June 10 with the Pride Parade that starts at noon in Copley Square, leading to the Festival and free Concert at City Hall Plaza.  This is a record year for the Pride Parade with 348 registered marching groups (compared to 257 in 2016) with 80 cars, 40 floats, an estimated 45,000 marchers and estimated 500,000 spectators.

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There are several other signature events for Pride Week including Pride Day @ Faneuil Hall on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. which features the inaugural High Heel Dash for Charity at 11 a.m. to raise funds for Boston Pride’s Community Fund.  Pride Day @ Faneuil Hall includes performances from the area’s leading drag performers, music and free dance classes including Zumba.

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On Monday, June 5, Boston Pride will host a panel discussion at 6 p.m. at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute with the discussion on how the LGBTQ community can advocate for itself in this current political climate. The panelists include Congressman Michael Capuano, Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas, Carl Sciortino of AIDS Action and Arline Isaacson of the Mass. Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. The forum will be moderated by NBC Boston/NECN political reporter Alison King.

This year, Boston Pride has great participation from the region’s professional sports teams. Both the New England Revolution and Boston Red Sox are hosting Pride Nights for fans.  Pride Night at Gillette with the Revolution is on June 3 and Pride Night at Fenway, which is in its fifth year, will be held on Friday, June 9.  Boston Pride will also be joined by women’s professional sports teams, the Boston Breakers soccer and Boston Pride hockey.  Players from both teams are volunteering at the Parade and they are also hosting Pride Nights at their games sometime soon.

On Sunday, June 11, Boston Pride is organizing the “Stronger Together” Rally in solidarity with the Global Equality March for Unity and Pride of Washington, DC. Boston Pride calls on all community members to mobilize and fight for equal rights for everyone. The rally will be held at 11 a.m. at Boston Common where the first Boston Pride rally took place in 1971.

Pride Week comes to a close with the annual block parties held in the Back Bay on St. James Avenue, and in Jamaica Plain on Perkins Street.  Both parties will have music, dancing and part of the ticket proceeds will go toward Boston Pride’s Community Fund.  For more information on Pride Week visit www.bostonpride.org

 

Happy Pride!

Boston Pride Celebrates 46th Annual Pride Month

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June 11, 2016. Boston, MA. 2016 Boston Pride Parade and Festival. © 2016 Marilyn Humphries

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.

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June 11, 2016. Boston, MA. 2016 Boston Pride Parade and Festival. © 2016 Marilyn Humphries

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.

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Block Party Attendees Observe a Moment of Silence for the Victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando.         June 12, 2016. Boston, MA. Pride Back Bay Block Party. © 2016 Marilyn Humphries

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.