Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles.

Last sunny Sunday, was the Richmond Pride Event at Marina Way Park in Richmond.  The Richmond Arts & Culture Commission (RACC) had a modest table at the celebration.  With children’s art supplies and a handmade sign, it was the perfect opportunity to show support.  All members of the community are welcome here and art unites.

Commissioners Jenny E. Balisle and Fletcher Oakes (BK Williams photo).

From the Richmond Rainbow Pride website: “Richmond Rainbow Pride (RRP) is a group of LGBTIQQ individuals and allies who live, work and/or play in or near Richmond, CA, coming together for the collective benefit of the LGBTIQQ community of Richmond.  RRP creates spaces that are safe and welcoming to the LGBTIQQ community of Richmond; holds events of interest to the community; advocates for the interests of the community; and promotes LGBTIQQ visibility in the greater Richmond community.”

RYSE Center and Richmond Rainbow Pride design.

Sponsors included the Rainbow Community Center, UPS, and the City of Richmond.  Displays featured local politicians, a historian, painting activities, hip fashion, and snacks.  In addition, the occasion showcased speakers, advocates, entertainment, and awards.  Local neighbors danced with attendees and volunteers.  Old relationships were strengthened and new partnerships created.


As the day came to an end, the battle for equality continues.  Recently there was a win in Hawaii.  Human Rights Campaign confirms that the state just enacted legislation protecting LGBTQ Youth from the dangerous practice of “Conversion Therapy.”  Hawaii joined only twelve other states (and the District of Columbia) with similar laws: Maryland, Rhode Island, Washington, New York, New Mexico, Illinois, Vermont, Connecticut, Nevada, California, New Jersey, and Oregon.


Human Rights Campaign website: “There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.  To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior.  The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.”


The Library of Congress notes that the month of June is Pride Month honoring the 1969 Stonewall Riots.  Respect must be a basic human right everyday of the year.  The Richmond Pride Event embodied support, community, and love.  In Harvey Milks’ words: “Hope will never be silent.”