Dyke March Steps up for a Second Year (June 4)

Dyke March Steps up for a Second Year (Event June 4)Just 4 Us

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 4/12/2011)

“A march is different than a parade,” It’s not about celebrating.  It’s about marching together, being strong, and demanding equal rights,” said Eric Folkmire, co-founder of the SE Michigan Dyke March.

Folkmire, the only male among the group’s five young founders, was so moved by his experience at a Dyke March in Chicago in 2009 that he wanted to have one in the Detroit area.

“My best friend Julia and I went to Chicago and it was really empowering for me.  The lesbian community is so welcoming,” he said.  “Later Julia and I were at Barnes and Noble in the gay and lesbian section.  She asked me if I was really serious about trying to start a march.  …So we got a coffee right then and there and set about planning.”

Folkmire and Julia LeBrell teamed up with friends Audrey Long, Meggie Cliff and Nadia Maraachli to put on the first SE Michigan Dyke March on June 5, 2010.  (To see pictures from the first march, check out last year’s coverage at http://www.ferndale115.com/20100606dykemarch.html).

Members of Dykes on Bikes and  GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) Southeast Michigan have already signed on to take part, and SE Michigan Dyke March is partnering with Ferndale Pride 2011 to cross-promote the Ferndale-based events.

Ferndale Pride 2011 organized through The Ferndale Community Foundation after Motor City Pride decided to move their annual festival from Downtown Ferndale to Hart Plaza in Detroit.  (http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/04/04/ferndale-pride-2011-planning-committee-going-strong) Ferndale Pride 2011 and The Dyke March have organized their events around Motor City Pride’s schedule so that visitors are free to enjoy the fun and activism in both cities.

modern taxThe oldest of The SE Michigan Dyke March founders is 25 year old Audrey Long.  “We’re young,” Long said.  “And people are shocked at how young we are.  But somebody’s got to step up and lead the community someday, so we might as well be first in line.”

When asked what she hoped to gain by doing this, she laughed and said, “We want to take over the world.”

The experience of planning a march has given the group more satisfaction and direction than they could have expected.  “This was our first time doing anything like this,” Folkmire said.  “We all got this bug about doing activism, and it’s all we talk about now when we get together.”

He said that the process of organizing a march was not too hard, thanks to help he received from other community organizers and City employees.  “Dave Wait and Sara Spurgeon [of Equality Michigan and Motor City Pride] helped us a lot with the process.  Michael Lary [City of Ferndale Dream Cruise Director] and Officer Steve LaRowe helped us.  They were our mentors through this.”

The organizers have been busy, setting up tables at every LGBT community event they can find, and organizing online.  They are looking for volunteers and sponsors for the event.  They also hold regular fundraisers, such as Open Myke night at 515 in Royal Oak on Monday nights at 7pm.

To find out more or get involved, go to http://www.semidykemarch.org.

For more LGBT news, go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/category/lgbt-news/.

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