- May 19, 2011
This past weekend HRC attended the 2nd Annual Charleston Pride Festival in South Carolina. The festivities on Saturday in North Charleston had a beautiful view of the water with a Pride Parade and Festival at the Riverfront Park. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out and so were the people. The festival brought more than 4,000 people to celebrate being out and proud; this was an impressive number of people for only the second year of Charleston Pride. Even more importantly, there was not one protester present at the event. All the attendees were there in love and unity for the LGBT cause.
HRC joined fabulous South Carolinians to march and chant in the parade that wound through neighborhoods and the business district. As we marched we invited on-lookers to join us. HRC had a group of 18 people marching along with us, all chanting “What do we want?” “Equality!” “When do we want it?” “Now!”
During the festival at the Riverfront Park, HRC was able to sign up dozens to our action list and secure exactly 68 memberships- ranging from people who had never heard of HRC to long supporting members who wanted to renew. All of this success could not have been done without eight fantastic and devoted volunteers who walked around the festival asking people to sign our action list and directing people to the booth where we were selling merchandise, handing out LGBT resource information, and signing up members.
One of those volunteers was my mother. A cute little Hispanic woman who’d never been to any Pride event before. She was shy at first but she jumped right into it after a few minutes. I asked her at the end of the day what she thought of the event and she said she enjoyed herself very much and was surprised to see so much diversity and so many families. I think the gays just scored one more ally. She was great company!
Our booth neighbors, EnlightenMEN, were great company as well, who were also directing the crowd to our booth. EnlightenMEN is a group specifically for gay and bi men to find community, brotherhood, support, inspiration, and FUN. Other organizations such as South Carolina Equality were there promoting their work focused on securing equal civil and human rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender South Carolinians and their families.
While we were in South Carolina for the day, we stayed focused on our work in North Carolina to defeat the anti-LGBT marriage amendment, asking those who were eligible to sign our petition to stop two bills in the legislature aiming to ban gay marriage for all North Carolinians.
Overall, it was a fantastic event, fun crowd and a great ocean view. I can’t wait until next year!