ANGOLA — Angola’s first Pride Festival will take place Saturday at the Selman Timber Frame at Commons Park from 1-6 p.m.
With a theme of Stonewall, commemorating the Stonewall Riots of 1969, there will be a candle lighting for the three main icons of Stonewall that started the uprising as well as the 49 victims of the Florida Pulse club shooting.
“There will be no parade this year,” said event organizer Claudia Camargo.
The first Pride parade didn’t take place until one year after Stonewall, so since this is the first Pride event for Angola, it also will not see a parade to help commemorate Stonewall.
It will, however have food, music and informational tables as well as a nearby playground available for children to enjoy and other child-friendly activities.
The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid that took place in the early hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
They are widely considered an iconic event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
With a largely local committee, Angola’s Pride fest has come about because organizers believe Angola’s population is changing and improving its welcoming message.
“The Community Coalition for Change gave Angola Pride the support and push needed to achieve this fest,” Camargo said in an email. “Last year we had a Pride Picnic at Commons Park with about 50 participants.”
Food for that event was pledged by Fort Wayne Pride and Golden Green Soap Company of Angola donated a percentage of its sales from last June.
“This was the foundation Angola Pride needed to come up with the idea of having an Angola Pride fest,” she said.
Four of the eight members of the Angola Pride committee represent the LGBTQ community.
“Our purpose is to bring a helping hand to those who are seeking help medically, legally or socially,” Camarago said. “We have made connections with the National Network of LGBTQ Family Equality Council, Lafayette Pride, Indiana Legal Services Inc., Planned Parenthood of Northeastern Indiana, TREES Inc. and other local supporters that will work with us on future projects.”
For the safety of all at the event, a police officer will be on site.
Members of the local LGBT community have expressed to Camargo why they feel having a local Pride fest is important.
Reasons include knowing the love and support are out there, giving people of all ages resources they need to being grateful for the strength exhibited in those involved in demonstrations before now.
“I believe everyone deserves the right to its own identity,” one member said. “My generation did not suffer as much as the Stonewall generation but it was still hard to come out and not fear for our safety. I want to make sure our following generation will have it even better than us. Our youth deserves to be happy and focus on their education not worrying about who they are allowed to love. So many young ones are out there suffering emotionally and physically; I would like to contribute to providing some healing and support. We are a community and we will stick together to help each other, we have done it before and we will continue to do it.”
For more information and updates on Angola Pride, follow the event page on Facebook titled Angola Pride Celebration.