JAMESTOWN – June is Pride Month, and the Jamestown community is gearing up to celebrate.
Last year, organizers hosted the first ever Pride Festival in Jamestown with hundreds taking part, this year, they are poised to continue the newfound tradition next week.
“Pride is a day where the entire community can come together to celebrate who we are, who our city is, and just show that we are supportive, inclusive, and that there is a space for everyone in our community,” said Emily Van Wey, the programming and events coach for Jamestown Pride.
From a burlesque show, to a bike ride, a pride market, and church service, a lot is planned.
“Pride actually grew out of one of our groups at the MHA, that supported the queer community. In that group it was identified as a need in our community that there be a celebration of the queer community,” said Steven Cobb, executive director of the mental health association.
While Pride is an excellent way to celebrate and acknowledge the hardships overcome by the queer community, those behind the event’s planning committee say it’s also a celebration of love, and all are welcome.
“We have Pride because it is not made easy to love ourselves. We are not told and we are not often given the opportunity to love ourselves in the same way that others are,” continued Sheridan A. Smith, coordinator and founder of Jamestown Pride, “The thing that we do, why we create pride is because we want to create an atmosphere where this love is apparent, where this love is outside.”
The festival is also a great opportunity for those who might not be familiar with the LGBTQIA+ community, to educate themselves and expand their social circles.
“There is always room for growth, there is always a way that we can educate ourselves and put ourselves in new situations. Pride is a great area for people to be connected with others and maybe with people you normally wouldn’t connect with otherwise, so it’s a great way to expand your experiences and to get a little bit more out of the community,” said Van Wey.
The celebration of love and acceptance officially starts Friday, June 10, but features a Pride Flag raising at Jamestown City Hall at 9:30 a.m. downtown. For more, checkout Jamestown Pride on Facebook.