Earlier this month, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland held its own pride parade, Pride in the CLE, in downtown Cleveland. Last year, Cleveland Pride Inc. CEO, Todd Saporito canceled the original pride event, citing the “changing social climate” as the reason. The LGBT Community Center organized Pride in the CLE in response. This year, the Center held Pride in the CLE again.
The parade, which took place on June 3, started at the corner of East 6th Street and Lakeside Avenue. Marchers gathered in front of the Free Stamp as they waited for the parade to start. The march concluded at the newly renovated Public Square.
On the square, tents were set up for selling merchandise and organizations like Equality Ohio and #Human Rights Campaign gave attendants an opportunity to sign up for activism opportunities. Members of the local Food Not Bombs, an anti-hunger and anti-war collective, provided free snacks.
At a large stage in the center of the square, musical acts performed throughout the day and local politicians took to the stage to speak about the necessity for equality within the city.
Cleveland’s mayor, Frank Jackson, attended the event. He moved about the crowd, speaking to and taking pictures with those that stopped him before taking the stage himself.
“I want to thank [the organizers] for what they do and how they keep what needs to be kept on the front burner on the front burner,” Jackson said. “Because, once you become silent, then people believe you don’t exist.”
The lead sponsor of the event was Key Bank, for which a number of employees marched in the parade. Other organizations that marched included Planned Parenthood, Near West Theater and the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats.
The Stonewall Democrats is an organization dedicated to “educating, endorsing, electing and holding accountable, pro-LGBT Democrats across Greater Cleveland,” per the mission statement on their website.
As the marchers moved from the staging area towards Public Square, people gathered along the parade route to watch and cheer.
Editor’s note: MJ Eckhouse, editor-in-chief of Fusion is also an intern with Equality Ohio and attended this event as an intern.