Los Angeles: No One Celebrates Pride Like The West Side The L.A. Community Comes Out En Masse To Celebrate The Mantra #JustBe
LOS ANGELES, CA- It’s an amazing thing to witness over 150,000 people marching the streets with love, joy and compassion in their heart. On June 10, 2018, I was able to participate in just that for L.A. Pride’s annual parade. For approximately 2 miles along Santa Monica Boulevard starting at Fairfax and ending at Doheny, it was an exhibition of life, love, colors and confetti.
The parade was led by Michaela Mendelsohn, an LGBTQ+ activist and accomplished businesswoman (CEO of one of the largest franchises for El Pollo Loco restaurants in the West) and she marshaled the 48th installment LGBTQ+ festivities which championed this year’s parade theme: #JustBe.
The atmosphere was absolutely electric. There were smiles all around, couples embracing, souls dancing … no matter where you looked, there was something that was bound to put a smile on your face. There were races and creeds and religions of every kind celebrating in the streets. From the young to the old, local to foreign, it was truly inclusive. No one questioned who you were or why you were there, they were simply happy to just be there and celebrating with a like minded community.
Last years parade was billed as an anti-Trump #Resist march, and while there were definitely a handful of political statements being made and politicians and government representatives making their presence known marching with certain groups (i.e. Maxine Waters marched with The Black AIDS Institute), the politically charged #Resist sentiment from last year clearly gave way to the current #JustBe catchphrase.
In today’s social and political climate, #JustBe is just as important, if not more important, than fighting the system. While it’s important to speak out against that which is oppressive, it’s also important to know who you are, what you stand for and to let others know why it is you are resisting in the first place. #JustBe.
Another observation I had was the amount of effort and energy that corporate sponsors put into their support of their LBGTQ employees. As gloomy and pessimistic as it may sound, money does make the world go around, especially when it comes to politics. As an ally, I paid a lot of attention to those business and companies who put their money where their mouths were, supporting the ideal that everybody deserves to be treated the same, and that every has the god-given right to be their true selves and #JustBe. Hopefully, they’ll all be lobbying and endorsing like minded candidates for this years upcoming midterm elections.