By Bella Richmond:

Sacramento Pride showed up this year for a spectacular celebration! Pride month is in June to honor the Stonewall riot on Jun. 28, 1969. According to the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Making History exhibit, patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York fought back against one of many violent police raids, effectively starting the Gay Liberation Movement. Sacramento had its first Pride in 1979, after its own history of violent raids, as stated on Sacramento’s official Pride website. 

Sacramento’s LGBT Community Center was finally able to throw an event after two years of canceling due to COVID. The festival area stretched from 4th Street to 7th along Capital Mall. It ran from June 11-12, with the parade taking place on the second morning. 

This was my first time at a Pride celebration this large, and I was delighted to catch the full parade on the second day and much of the later event. The celebration was lovely, and I came away with a better strategy for viewing Pride Sacramento next year. 

I had attended only one Pride event prior. I am lucky to have parents who supported me coming out, but the small town I grew up in did not have a flourishing community of GSM (gender and sexual minority) people. Coming in with a fresh set of eyes, I would say the parade is a must. Along with a number of exceptional photo opportunities, the parade is a showcase of all the organizations that sponsor Pride. The parade is a sweet, family-friendly event, with lots of flashy floats and people done up in their proudest. 

With two different stages, dance troops, vendors and lots of food trucks, the event itself had plenty to keep the throngs of attendees occupied. With so much going on, there was only time to speak with some of the representatives from various organizations, such as the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, PFLAG Sacramento, Sacramento Stonewall Democrats, the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and their scholarship foundation.

Pride is put on by the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, which plays a large role in the Sacramento community. Pride is a necessary political march and celebration. Systemic inequality still faces members of the GSM community daily, which is only part of the reason to attend year after year. Next time, I will go in a little more prepared for the experience. 

I concluded that the ideal timing is attending the afternoon on the first night of Pride. This allows time to catch the headliner performance at night and means no walking around in the direct sun. Then, attend the parade the next morning. This way all the biggest highlights can be enjoyed. As a newbie to Pride, I would say this year’s festivities were a success, and I can’t wait to see the fabulous floats Sacramento pulls out next June.