By Jacob Elliott
June 12, 2017
Hundreds of people gathered at State Capitol on Sunday with signs in hands and fervor in their hearts for the 2017 Equality March for Unity and Pride.
Held in conjunction with the LGBTQA+ march in Washington D.C., the march aimed to peacefully and clearly address the concerns about the current political landscape and the negative effects it has on LGBTQA+ community members. Around 116 different marches went on the same day as the D.C. march.
Six speakers started off the event and gave their thoughts on the LGBTQA+ community, their histories, their stories, and advice on how to better the community.
A moment of silence was held during these speeches for those lost during the Orlando nightclub shootings one year ago. During that time, members of the audience closed their eyes and held hands out of respect.
One of the major difficulties of the march was the heat, which started at 93 degrees and ended up at 96 degrees. Because of this, a handful of the participants fell ill and the march itself was shortened.. Bosier helped by passing out water bottles she had purchased for the event.
According to Facebook, around 1100 people went to the event, though due to the heat not everyone made it through the entire march. Many participants wore brightly colored clothes with pro-LGBT slogan written on them, holding signs to support LGBT equality.
A particularly excited member of the group would start up chants such as “Love is Love” or “What do we want? Love! When do we want it? Now!” On occasion, a car would cruise by the group as it honked and gave thumbs up or other forms of approval. The reaction to this was a large whoop and holler from the crowd.
The event ended back on the steps of the Capitol where members of the audience were invited to sit and have their picture taken.
“It helps raise awareness to how many people were here,” said Kristin Grosskopf, “It helps know that we’re not going to just disappear because we were taken off of the census. It promotes solidarity and we heard a lot of messages today about not just posting things on Facebook, but to go to event. What we have is a call to action.”
The event ended with speakers, including Nebraska Sen. Kate Bolz, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb, ACLU of Nebraska’s Tyler Richard, Outlinc’s Abbi Swatsworth and others, calling for the members of the audience to do their duty and to be that person who goes to events and who goes to speak with their representatives. The closing speech was given by Bosier who called for unity within the community.
“If we are not together as the gay community our minority voice gets divided and we cannot allow the present administration to do that,” Bosier said., “That is what they are trying to do right now.”
“We’ve got a lot of mixed emotion now because of how the public sees us,” said Brandi Bosier, one of the speakers and grand marshal for the pride parade. “They think that we’re done, marriage equality, we got it, we’re done. They don’t understand the way we’re being attacked politically right now. They have no clue on what’s going on…we have to go out there and educate.”
Jacob Elliott is one of KZUM’s summer editorial interns. Interested in interning at KZUM? Find more information and apply here.