Phoenix Pride Parade 2018

Members and friends from The Fountains UMC marched in the Phoenix Pride Parade along with 6 other reconciling churches in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Per the Arizona Republic, The Phoenix Pride Parade featured 2,000 individual participants with decorated vehicles, colorful floats and thousands of walkers, with more than 15,000 spectators.

Among the participants were Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey who have been together for 60 years and who were the first couple to receive their marriage license in Arizona, while advocating for marriage equality.

The following are the comments from Todd Elwood, who also marched in the parade.

“I had the honor of walking with The Fountains in this year’s Pride Parade. This was the first Pride I’ve attended, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The two things I found most surprising were the overwhelming positivity of the event, and an air of freedom from those in the parade, and from those watching.

The first one is easy to describe. Nine out of 10 signs emphasized goodness, instead of injustice. I saw signs saying, “We are all equal,” and “Love everyone,” and “Everyone is worthy” and “Love wins” and, of course, “Be proud.”  Most everyone carried a message of acceptance and hope and joy. It’s rare today to among such positivity and I thought it was refreshing.

About the air of freedom: This one is a little tougher to explain, but my sense from watching people interact with each other is, the Pride parade provided a place for everyone to be open and authentic. I’m not a gay person, but I can imagine going through this day-to-day world with defenses up and partially shielding who you really are because of hateful people. For one mile in downtown Phoenix, everyone was able to release the weight of those shields and be true to themselves, because they were among people who accepted them fully. It was amazing to witness, and it made me hope for a time when that sort of total acceptance would expand beyond a one-mile stretch once a year.” 

Here is a glimpse of the fun we had!

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