We Are Family March Kicks off Pride Weekend in Ferndale

Just 4 UsWe Are Family March Kicks off Pride Weekend in Ferndale

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 6/3/2011)

NOTE: The Ferndale 115News is currently on Summer Vacation.  We are running  series of Ferndale Pride articles because we happened to catch the festivities!  We’ll see you back full time once we get our summer side projects – er, vacation – wrapped up! ~ cp

“I walked all the way from Affirmations down to City hall in these,” said fourteen year old Zack Marsack of Ferndale as he pulled a pair of high heeled shiny black boots out of his duffel bag.  “It killed my feet.  But it was worth it.”  The youngster and his friend Desiree Winslow of Oak Park danced on the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward after the We Are Family March, which kicked off the first Ferndale Pride on June 3, 2011.

 

Marsack and Winslow were among about 200 individuals who came together to further mark Ferndale’s place in history as a city where everyone is welcome, regardless of gender expression or sexual preference.  In front of Affirmations Community Center, volunteers handed out stickers so attendees could show off their label of choice – be it gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.  Up and down 9 Mile and Woodward in Downtown Ferndale, nonprofit groups handed out information at tables in front of gay-friendly stores and establishments, and people cheered as the march made its way through on a sunny Friday evening and stopping on the lawn of City Hall.

 

When he was six years old, Marsack attended his first Pride celebration.  Motor City Pride is an event organized by Equality Michigan that had been hosted in Ferndale since 2001, but moved this year to Hart Plaza in Detroit.  It was this annual celebration that the young individual remembers.  “My mom and her girlfriend took me when I was six. My brother, who was a year older, told me that gay meant happy.  So I went around saying I’m in a happy parade, I’m in a happy parade.”

 

Eight years later he and his friends are creating new memories by taking their place in a movement that seeks acceptance and equality for all people.

 

Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter has been taking part in pride demonstrations for over 20 years.  He and other community leaders spoke at the rally in front of City Hall about why Pride is important to them.  “Times are different now,” Coulter said.  “I’ve been thinking about why do we still march…  we do this because it’s the most damned enlightened response to bigotry that I can think of, that in the face of bigotry we’ve decided to celebrate who we are… and love ourselves.”

 

County Commissioner Craig Covey, an activist since 1982, was one of the organizers of the weekend’s events.  He gave the crowd a history lesson, explaining how the gay rights movement rose up from the ceaseless raids in 1969 of a gay bar in New York called The Stonewall Inn.  The clash between police and gay members of the public is a defining moment in LGBT history, and one that Covey hopes the new generation of activists will not forget as they enjoy the ability to feel safe and free in Ferndale.

 

He also left attendees with reassuring words “No matter where there is a Pride, there will always be a Pride in Ferndale,” he said.

 

Ferndale Pride carries on through the weekend, with the Dyke March at 2pm on Saturday, after-parties galore at Downtown Ferndale pubs and restaurants on Saturday night, and even more fun themed parties on Sunday.  A shuttle from Rosie O’Grady’s will take attendees to the Hart Plaza event on Saturday.

 

For more information about Ferndale Pride go to www.ferndalepride.com.

 

For information on Equality Michigan’s Motor City Pride, go to www.motorcitypride.org.

 

For prior LGBT news and features, check out The Ferndale 115 News LGBT section at http://oaklandcounty115.com/category/lgbt-news/ or read statewide LGBT news at Between The Lines – www.pridesource.com.

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