LANSING - On June 15th, the 30th annual Michigan Pride event took place in Downtown Lansing at the Capitol Building and throughout the streets nearby.
The event featured a parade throughout the Lansing streets beginning in front Adado Riverfront Park and ended at the Capitol Building. Once the parade ended a rally immediately began on the steps at the Capitol Building.
The rally featured a number of speeches from Michigan Pride Board Members, Trans Teens, Founder & Director of the Salus Center in Lansing Phiwa Langeni and the State Attorney General Dana Nessel as well as others.
Speaking to Co-Chair, Leigha Faith, of the Michigan Pride Board Members she explains the importance behind the event telling us, "I had a whole bunch of kids come up to me and hug me and say "this is my story and I have never been and felt so accepted and this has given me a new life & a new take on things and maybe i'm not as bad off as I thought I was because there are people out there who love me"... and I'm one of them."
Faith also explains what the Pride event means to her and why it's important stating, "It's important to me because every child, every human, every adult, everyone matters."
The Founder and Director of The Salus Center (Lansing's first and only LGBTQ resource center), Phiwa Langeni also gave a speech during the rally sharing his truth and helping others along the way.
"For me as a Black, Queer, Trans person who is also a clergy person, I think it's very important for us to be able to speak to the inherent worth of people regardless of their identities to make sure that people know that they're supposed to be here, they're worthy of thriving, they're worthy of existing. So for me having all of these intersecting identities, I couldn't keep flying below the radar, which is where I actually find a lot more comfort but to be hyper-visible , to help people imagine a new possibility for our lives and identities," Langeni shared with us while speaking on the importance of him being apart of the event.
Langeni also speaks on why it was important for him to give a speech at the event as well as why the event is important to the community stating, "I don't know if you saw the crowd but there's not a whole bunch- here in Lansing, maybe Michigan in general- there aren't a lot of people in color in general in Queer spaces, they tend to be primarily white, which is fine, I think this is important for people of every color. But I also feel like, when we're doing LGBTQ rights work, we often miss some details of the work that are affect people of color and so part of my working with this hyper-visibility is to try to close those gaps that people tend to fall in that tend to be very deadly in fact. Whether that's people acting violent against people or people who end up taking their own lives because of these huge gaps in between the work that we're trying to do for LGBTQ rights and even Anti-Racist work, so I feel like a lot of my showing up is this blend of identities that I possess and then to be able to speak to in a way that people can hopefully encounter and actually weave that into the different works that they're doing."
He continues by adding, "Theres some folk who have the privilege of not thinking about how our day to day lives are actually violent to a lot of people, so being able to have these visible spaces theres something very powerful about knowing that we're not isolate either in our identities or the different fights that we're engaging in. I'm convinced that sometimes that isolation is where a lot of the harm ends up happening. People not understanding that they're connected to a rich history. People of every time and age have been here dealing with similar struggles, in different ways. Both our ancestors and also those who are here today are with us. We don't have to do the fight by ourselves. And not just feel like we're always in a posture of fighting so that's why pride events you know that actually gives us the space and time to celebrate and just exist and be our colorful and fabulous selves."
The event turned out to be very successful as thousands came out to show their support for the LGBTQ community.
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