Naples Pride incorporates Black Lives Matter into parade

June is typically designated as Gay Pride Month in the United States. Many cities, large and small, hold celebrations and parades to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which are often regarded as the first “Pride,” that began June 28, 1969.

Saturday, Naples held a Pride Parade of its own, beginning in North Naples and continuing all the way down 5th Avenue in downtown Naples. Naples Pride also made sure to echo the sentiments of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests happening across the country.

And, since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, the original plans for the parade had to be amended. But that didn’t stop people from coming out. There were loads of signs and flags reading “#LoveWins” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Callhan Soldavini explains why. “For us it’s important,” she said. Soldavini is one of the board members for Naples Pride. And she recognizes the importance of not only pride but for Black Lives Matter protests as well. 

“Equality without fear of discrimination,” Soldavini said, is what the organizers are looking for. 

Another board member, Tyler Renfro, had this to say, “I think it’s important … happening in the world our particular movement.” In the wake of George Floyd’s death and with pride, the beginning of June has seen many public demonstrations. 

But Renfro also reminds us that Pride is a celebration.

One of those at the rally, wants people to remember that with pride and Black Lives Matter, it’s a matter of having rights above all else. “Because it’s human rights… it’s human rights… we have a right to be here,” Tony Torres said.

Reporter:Justin Kase
Writer:Drew Hill
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