Written By: Prince William County
The Office Executive Management, Equity, and Inclusion hosted the first Pride Community Celebration and Information Day Tuesday, June 7, at the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza at the McCoart Government Center. People gathered to learn more about government resources and local LGBTQIA+ organizations while enjoying music, food, and comments from area elected officials.
Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair at-Large Ann Wheeler reminded the celebrants of the Stonewall Riots in the summer of 1969 and the contributions that LGBTQIA+ people have made and continue to make in our community and our county. This celebration of pride and the history of the LGBTQIA+ community is a way to revel in their existence and of their visibility,” Wheeler said. “We as a county also continue to face tragic levels of violence against LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender women of color. It is often difficult to encapsulate the struggle and defiance of the LGBT community.”
Prince William Board of County Supervisors Vice Chair Margaret Angela Franklin said the celebration on the plaza offered the opportunity to reflect on the trials the LGBTQIA+ community has faced over the years. “This celebration gives us the opportunity to reflect on their struggles as they have fought and continue to fight to overcome barriers of legalized discrimination and social ostracism.”
Prince William County Neabsco District Supervisor Victor S. Angry said holding the event was essential to promoting empathy. “I think this event is important because of the simple word of love. This is a loving event, and we should do better at loving each other. I wish the world were color blind and we could treat people the same regardless of color or sexual orientation.”
Prince William County Woodbridge District Supervisor Andrea O. Bailey echoed Angry’s sentiments. “It is so important in our world today that we remember that love conquers all. It is so important that when we look at equality that it’s not just equality, it’s equity. It is so important that we embrace each other no matter the hue, the age, the color, or the gender. It is important that we move our world forward no matter what.”
Prince William County Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye said that events such as the Pride Month celebration are important because they recognize the worth of everyone in the community. “Gatherings like this are so important because they help show that every group is worthy of being embraced and included regardless of who they love or who they are. When we welcome everybody in Prince William County, we make sure that when everyone feels that they’re a part of our family and our community, we will thrive.”
Other speakers and attendees at the event included Senator Jeremy McPike, State Senator Delegates Danica Roem, Michelle Maldonado, Elizabeth Guzman, and Luke Torian, Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth, Clerk of the Circuit Court Jacqueline Smith, County Attorney Michelle Robl, Acting County Executive Elijah Johnson and members of the Office of Executive Management leadership team, along with Prince William County Human Rights Commissioners Tonya James and Evelyn Brumar.
Planning for the 2023 Pride will begin in August.