Against All Odds: A Letter From the President
The following is a letter from Zackery Glass, Orange County Pride President:
Words truly cannot describe how full of joy, hope and love my heart is today after a very successful Orange County LGBT Pride Parade and Festival. It was a magical day where the community came together in unity and support of one another–one in which I will remember forever. Not only did we achieve a Pride Parade in Orange County after over a decade of not having one, but we achieved an estimated double amount of attendees to the festival as years previous. Approximately 20,000 people came out to the Orange County Pride events today!
It truly was a feat having today’s parade. Numerous times in the last few months the parade was on the brink of failure and cancellation–from only having 5 group entries a little over a month before the event to losing our Barricade company just 4 days before. And of course the affect of the unexpected and tragic events that occurred in Orlando just 2 weeks prior. This called us to ask questions such as “Will we be safe?” “Will we become a target?” “Is it worth the risk?”
But we pushed forward. We overcame challenge after challenge. We were relentless in our determination to unite as a community. To show that we are not afraid to be proud of who we are. To make the statement that we refuse to hide or be terrorized. To have pride in our true selves and how we want to live our lives. And it was glorious.
I would now like to thank the all-too-few people that worked tirelessly for the last year to make today’s special moments happen–the OC Pride Planning Committee. Without the dedication and drive from these people, none of today’s events would have been possible. Jeremy Huntington, Steve Romero, Meg Kott, Yasi Schmidt, Cindy Martinez, Trent White, CJ Lester and my wonderful boyfriend Travis Roberts, who somehow not only sticks by my side but is the first to join in and get his hands dirty for any of my crazy projects. I thank you all for the time and dedication that you have spent. I also want to thank all of our volunteers who helped regularly throughout the year.
It is important to remember that these Festivals and these Parades don’t just happen on their own. It takes people like you–people busy with jobs, families, friends–that somehow are inspired just enough to take on an extra workload for the betterment of their community. I encourage you, if you enjoyed today’s Parade and Festival, or better yet if you see the opportunities for improvement, join us. Help us. Support your community.
We are building this event on the backs of those that fought for the very first Pride Parade and Festival in Orange County back in 1989 and throughout the 90s. And we need you to continue the tradition. To make the LGBT community a visible and loving and supporting community that is a greater world for those that are just coming out. Or those that are growing up in an unaccepting family. Or those that are choosing not to be their true self because they’re afraid of what might happen to them. Help these people.
You can send us your interest in joining the 2017 OC Pride Planning Committee by emailing email@example.com.
But above all else, remember everyday is an opportunity to celebrate, show love to others and be proud.
Happy OC Pride!
Orange County LGBT Pride