Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hampton Roads Pridefest 2019 - Reflections

Governor Northam addresses Pridefest 2019 in Norfolk.
Some years back I was on the board of directors of Hampton Roads Pride and was involved in putting on Pridefest, so I know what a huge undertaking it is to put on what now has become a massive event.  Yesterday's Pridefest in Town Point Park was over the top with by far the largest crowd ever in the history of the event.   The park was packed from the main stage all the way back to Nauticus. I have not seen any estimates of the crowd size - it's a free event, so there are no ticket sales to help determine the number of attendees - but it had to be 20,000 or even more. The photo above of Governor Ralph Northam addressing the crowd and pledging to push for equality for all Virginians regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity shows part of the vast crowd.  The Governor simply said we are all Virginians and should be fully equal under the law.  Another first was the fact that there were many more vendors that ever before and included recruiting booths for all of the local police departments, the FBI and the CIA.  Trump supporters would likely have an aneurysm. The image below is of a banner at the Newport News Shipbuilding tent - the only company in America that can build our nation's nuclear carriers. 

click image to enlarge.

Yesterday's event kicked off with the Pride Boat Parade which had the largest number of boats ever - including one entry that had to be close to 100 feet in length.  The husband and I participated aboard the Americn Rover, a large schooner that does harbor cruises. As for the crowd, like the Block Party on Friday night, the crowd was very diverse - every race, old, young - indeed, a record number of children accompanied parents - and every subset of the LGBT community. One straight Democrat politician I know stated he was nothing less than amazed by the crowd sizes and the happy, laid back vibe of the crowd.   Pride events continue today in Virginia Beach at the Neptune Park area of the resort strip.  Things have changed radically since my first Pride in 2002 when the event involved perhaps 200-300 participants. Despite the efforts of the Trump/Pence regime and its Christofascist allies, we are NOT going backward in time. The fight will continue. 
click image to enlarge.

The Spirit of Norfolk flying the rainbow flag with the old Naval Hospital in the background.

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