On Tuesday, June 17, Gay Porterville hosted the rally "We're Still Here" at Centennial Plaza, here in town. The event was absolutely amazing, and we hope it boosted the morale of our LGBTQ/Straight Ally community. We gathered with signs, flags, and unbreakable spirits to send the message of pride to our city, and the city council who often works to oppress our community.
We did have one protestor at the event, preaching hate with a "God Hates Fags" sign while treading his feet on an American flag, but those in attendance dealt with him in a non-violent, peaceful manner. After approximately 10 minutes, he left, and we could not be any more proud of our supporters for being brave enough to stand up to the individual professionally and appropriately. Love conquered hate on Tuesday--it always does.
We had a guest speaker at the event--Mehmet McMillan! He gave a phenomenal speech, and we at Gay Porterville could not be any more thankful. McMillan was one of the courageous individuals who engaged in civil disobedience at one of last summer's infamous Pride Proclamation city council meetings. When Greg Shelton, Cameron Hamilton, and Brian Ward voted to rescind the city's Pride Proclamation, he and fellow activists voiced their opposition loudly and proudly. McMillan was arrested for his brave actions, along with fellow activists Jennifer Davis and Robin McGehee. Listen to his speech--words cannot express how great it was. To listen/watch, click on the image below.
At one point, we counted about 55 people gathered at Centennial Plaza for the event. Roxane Serna, a dedicated Straight Ally, was there with her two daughters, and she donated cupcakes to event goers! They were absolutely fabulous.Thank you, Roxane. Gay Porterville would like to thank each and every one of you who came out to attend, and those who voiced their support from afar. Porterville's First Annual Pride Rally was beautiful, and we could not have done it without all of you. We're already excited for our 2015 Pride event. We're still here, we're still proud, and we are not going anywhere.
*photo credit: Mary de Ocampo
**photo credit: Brock Neeley