4th of July Parade 2017
Another 4th of July parade in our history. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who walked with us and showed our community that “WE CHOOSE ALL OF US”. A very special thank you to Sherri and Stacy Richardson and family for providing the much needed and appreciated vehicle and trailer. And thank you to Kristi Milan and Turns East for coordinating our parade entry.
What a wonderful experience walking in the 4th of July parade with the Campaign for Compassion, the North Idaho Unitarian Universalist, our friends from Spokane, our faithful friends of the Pride Alliance and many new friends who walk with us for the first time to show their support and unity for all of us in our community. As always, we felt the love and support of our friends in the Kootenai County Democrats, who we walked right in front of.
There were so many highlights of the day, but one stands out. Two young gay men who are new to the area and saw our rainbow flags and hesitantly walked up to see what we were “all about”. After talking to several of our folks, big smiles appeared on their faces. They were so excited, and I suspect a bit relived, to see a visible LGBTQIA+ community walking together in the parade. They said they would like to get involved and be apart of something special. I’m pretty sure we will be seeing more of them.
This is just one example of why we walk in the parade, put on Pride in the Park, and why need to be “out and proud”. Whether you are an ally, parent, friend or are someone on the gender and sexuality spectrum (LGBTQI+), we need to be visible. We serve as a touchstone of hope for others who are either struggling or those who just need to know they are not alone.
While there were still some negative, and predictable, reactions to us being in the parade (middle fingers flying our way, hateful slurs and “Jesus saves” being yelled), we marched proudly and embraced the overwhelming show of love and support in our community! When we stand united and strong, these negative reactions diminish in power and volume.
As we passed by the main stage, we heard even more cheers as MC, Kerri Thorenson, read the description of our entry “The Campaign for Compassion envisions a richly diverse network, people from every sector—business, healthcare, education, government, faith and interfaith, peace and non-violence, the arts, and those working to preserve the environment—who will bring compassion to everything they do, and who will take responsibility for igniting the compassion of the community to care for each other from birth through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to old age and death. The Campaign for Compassion promotes a just and compassionate society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity where all people share a common humanity and have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources. In North Idaho - WE CHOOSE ALL OF US!”
Mark July 4th, 2018 on your calendar to walk with us and be part of the change our community continues to see and feel - something special and meaningful.