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More than 100 people march in Homer Pride and Juneteenth celebration

June is Pride Month, which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Those riots marked a major turning point for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Those riots are now often honored by marching the streets to celebrate identity and raise awareness about the challenges LGBTQ+ people face. KBBI’s attended Homer’s Pride celebration on June 8 and talked to attendees about what Pride means to them.

Below is a rough transcript of the audio story.

Diep: People dressed in bright, rainbow-themed clothing, carrying flags and signs as they prepared to march through Homer

Kris Holderied is an oceanographer at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory near Seldovia.

Holderied: I'm at Pride, because it's really important to celebrate all the people that we are. So I'm gay and have been for a long time, and it's delightful to get out and celebrate.

JD: She says she loves seeing so many people coming together for Pride.

KH: I just appreciate the variety of folks that come together and Homer to celebrate and you know, like across the spectrum of people. So I love that sort of joint coalition and just wow, people being happy to be together.

JD: Holderied is joined by over 100 others marching down Pioneer Avenue. Val Sheppard is an office assistant at Pier One Theatre.

Sheppard: I'm here at Pride because I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud that other people feel the same way. And I feel that we need to fight the fight for, you know, for Pride in whatever form that we can. And also recognize that Pride encompasses a lot of things. And that is not just about queer Pride, it's about Black Pride and about trans Pride and about Pride for the struggles of, you know, of us all. So free Palestine is the short of that one.”

JD: Alexis Bobbitt has lived in Homer for about five years now. This is Bobbitt’s second year walking in the town’s Pride march

Bobbitt: I think it's great. I really want to, like, show up for the kids and show them that you can be whatever you want to be and we're here so I wanted to support it, but I guess that's all I gotta say.

JD: Ralph Skorski works for Homer’s public works department.

Skorski: I'm here to support the gay community and all the people that are allies for the queer community. Yeah.

JD: Yeah. Why is, why is that, being supportive, important to you?

RS: Because even if you're not gay. I'm sure somebody in your life is and it's good to show that they are supported and loved and we're all humans.

JD: Matt Smith attended Homer Pride with his family.

Smith: I work at the library in town. I'm also a parent with three kids. So I'm here today with my husband and two of my kids. Pride is important to us. We live in a small town where the LGBTQ community isn't very visible. And it's a good opportunity to all get together and to show our support for each other short of support for our families. And we've, I think we've been here every year that the Pride has taken place. So it's really, it's an important event. We really appreciate all the work that goes into making it.

JD: There were even elected officials at Homer Pride. Matt’s husband, Jason Davis, is on Homer’s City Council.

Davis: I've been present for every pride that Homer has had. For me, pride is just an opportunity to come out on a hopefully beautiful summer day like today and show our presence. I love the way they've combined it with the BIPOC community this year that you know, Black and Indigenous people of color. And I think it's just a great opportunity to get out and be visible and enjoy the summer.

JD:Winter Marshall-Allen is a special education teacher at Homer High School.

Marshall-Allen: I'm also the owner and operator of the Homer organization for more equitable relations, education, wellness and advocacy.

JD: She worked with Homer Pride board chair Jerrina Reed and others to organize the celebration.

Reed: We've been doing stuff since 2018. Because I know family members, I am queer, and I have family members who are transgender, or were in knowing what it takes to survive as a queer person, even in today's age. And wanting to make sure that that doesn't continue. I'm here to preach about love and unity, and Winter. And Xochitl and Bridget and Josephine and Lindsey, we we do that together here through Homer pride,

JD: Homer Pride combines their celebration with Juneteenth, a federal holiday that recognizes the ending of slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, Confederate states still enslaved people until about two years later. Over the years, Pride has come to acknowledge the similar struggles between fighting homophobia and racism.

Marshall-Allen: So what Pride means to me, Pride means an actualization of liberation and freedom, right, and means recognizing that I can stand in any space and have the totality of my identity being recognized. And being a biracial woman, I understand that their history at one point in time, it was illegal for me to even exist, it was illegal for the concept of my parents to be married and to love each other.

And so as we talk about our liberation celebration, and we talked about joining events, we talked about the history of Juneteenth and how there was a whole demographic of slaves in Galveston, Texas, who didn't even know that they were free, until substantially a substantial time later When, when the news was spread into Galveston. And so our point with the intention of the liberation celebration and being a joint is that we recognize that the advocacy for the equality equal spaces, totality of identity recognition, complete history really stems from the oppression of Black African Americans here. And it branches out from that when we look at oppression and we look at the spectrum of whiteness, those who are darker complected experienced the most blight. And when you're multi identified, when we talk about being black and being queer, being black and being queer, and having a disability, being black and being clear, and having a disability and being low socio economic, you're talking about multiple demographics that are then affected by the same oppression that other people experience when even if there are a white.

JD: Homer Pride is one of just three major events around the Kenai Peninsula. Organizers in Seward held their Pride celebration earlier this month [June 6-9], and Soldotna will have a Pride march this weekend [June 22].

In Homer, I'm Jamie Diep.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at jamie@kbbi.org to send story ideas.
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