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‘A sense of home’ -- St. Johns Pride month festival celebration honors the struggle for equality

ST Johns Pride Festival 2022
Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 9:02 PM EDT
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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) - Pride Month is underway, and St. Johns celebrated Saturday afternoon.

“Love wins” was chanted at the St. John’s Pride Fest Celebration on Saturday. Coming back for the second year in a row, crowds and vendors came Saturday afternoon to show their support for a community that is still fighting for equal treatment.

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Pride month honors the ongoing work for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community that began with the Stonewall riots in 1969. Community members, like attendee Cassidy Banwell, said Pride is stronger than ever at St. Johns.

Banwell said, “I think it’s really just like a sense of home. Having these events makes me feel like we belong here, because it’s nice to see the community to come out and support us.”

Jennifer Kearney is a volunteer at Free Mom Hugs, a group of LGBTQ+ members who are there for those who don’t have support from their families. She told News 10 that everyone can celebrate Pride month, even they are not a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

“You don’t have to be a LGBTQAI+ person to support someone who is,” said Kearney. “You just have to know that it is okay for them to be who they are, and show them that you love them no matter who they are, what they identify as. No matter who they love, you still love them.”

The festival featured a variety of resource services available for LGBTQ+ people.

Organizer Andrea Ryan said, “Having events like this in our community may have saved some people from harm, self-harm, suicide, drug use and things like that.”

The event wrapped up with music and dancing, where participants turned their pride flag into a cape.

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