On Saturday, June 3 the North Kingstown Pride Parade marched to the exuberant cheers of folks lined up and down Main Street to celebrate North Kingstown’s FIRST, but certainly not last, Pride Parade. Organized by our very own Jennifer Lima, the event attracted approximately 200 people with a common goal: to celebrate and recognize the LGBTQ+ community.
With under two months of planning, the RI Queer PAC, Black Lives Matter PAC RI, and Towards an Antiracist North Kingstown (TANK) worked together to create this diverse, equitable, and inclusive parade. Parade organizers give special thanks to Senators Bridget Valverde and Alana DiMario for supporting the day with their leadership and advocacy.
When asked about the parade today, three weeks later, Jennifer Lima shared, “The ACLU is tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills in the US this year including five right here in Rhode Island. The first pride was a riot and now, more than 50 years later and after decades of hard-fought progress, LGBTQ+ Americans - especially transgender Americans - are still fighting for the basic right to exist safely, without the threat of violence, discrimination or even criminalization. It's never a bad time to be an ally, but this year more than ever it was important that we show our LGBTQ+ community members - especially our youth - that North Kingstown is a place that values them, supports them, and will show up for them.
Lima went on to state, "The parade wouldn't have been possible without the support of Senator Bridget Valverde and Senator Alana DiMario or the Wickford Village Merchants Association. From the get-go there was so much positive energy around this parade. I truly believe that our town has been waiting for it. TANK is so privileged to have played a part in making it happen."
With pride and enthusiasm, Grand Marshall Miss Wheelchair Rhode Island Autumn Johnson led the parade. Autumn Johnson's pageant platform is, "Achievement, advocacy and opportunity for women with disabilities in Rhode Island." She waved and basked in the boisterous cheers from the crowd, like the pro she is!
This was truly one of the most beautiful and important events that I had the honor of leading!
Grand Marshall Autumn Johnson
The parade made the news on UpriseRI, ABC 6 and The Independent, and countless town and personal social media accounts. Thanks to all the writers, photographers, and creatives out there who shared the positivity, coolness, and beauty of the day.
Grand Marshall - Ms. Autumn Johnson, Ms. Wheelchair RI
State Senators Bridget Valverde, Alana DiMario and Melissa Murray
NK Town Councilors Katie Anderson, Larry Mandel and Matt McCoy
NK School Committee Members Erin Earle, Rob Case and Tom Briody
Rocky Hill GSA
VFW Post 152
Moms Demand Action
RI Queer Pac
South County / NK Prevention Coalition
Westminster Unitarian Church
Swifties for Pride
Harbor Creative Arts
Witches of Wickford