June 22, 2022

Kudos to All Who Helped Make Second Pride Parade and Afterparty Magical

To the Editor:

Princeton’s second Pride Parade and Afterparty was everything our community needed and deserved it to be, as meaningful as it was fabulous and as inspirational as it was exponential! Thousands of us marched, sashayed, and rolled up the beautiful Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood and then were all at once empowered and entertained at the wonderful Afterparty at the Y. Thank you to Lt. Ben Gering and the Princeton Police for your support keeping us safe and to Paul Zeger and the YMCA for welcoming us to your gorgeous green space.

Much love and respect to our Grand Marshal Alan Muraoka (bringin’ a sunny day all the way from Sesame Street!), Senators Andrew Zwicker and Linda Greenstein, Mayors Mark Freda (Princeton) and Dean Dafis (Maplewood), poet Michelle Elizabeth Brown (Detroit), and trans activist (and BRCSJ board president) Erin Worrell (Philadelphia) for putting boots on the ground at the parade and sharing inspirational remarks at the Afterparty.

Further kudos to our community members who shared the stage — our BRCSJ flagbearer Rose, who brought us all to tears at her first Pride; queer icons Chet and Frank, who dropped some important local history as they shared their personal journey and how Frank co-founded Princeton’s first gay rights organization, Gay People Princeton; and BRCSJ intern and Princeton Theological Seminary student Wesley Rowell,  who led us in convocation and opened us up to the beautiful sentiments that were to follow. We bowed (and bounced!) to our Queen Miss Stonewall Inn Cissy Walken who represented in fabulous fashion, were uplifted by the Pride Puppets, and we couldn’t have asked for better syncopation for our mobilization than the delightful Philadelphia Freedom Band.

But by far the most love and respect goes out to the thousands-strong community members who came out locally, from across all corners of our great state, and indeed beyond our borders as well. The love that carried this day was brought by you and we only served to amplify it.

Princeton’s second Pride Parade would not have been the truly magical day it was without the incredible foundational support of community, business, and religious leaders; our own extraordinary BRCSJ volunteers (over 50 strong!); Princeton Council members; and, of course, our fire, safety, health, and police departments who went above to serve and protect in a truly affirming and loving way. Names too numerous to place here in print but expect a hug very soon each and every one of you, and please know that you helped to create something significant that will carry on for years and years to come.

We invite our entire community to celebrate the success of our mutual efforts and to carry forth the message of love, diversity, and inclusivity at our “Welcoming the Community Breakfast” on Friday, July 1 from 8 to 10 a.m. at BRCSJ Headquarters, 12 Stockton Street. Please join us and allow us to truly show our gratitude to our community for allowing us to be of service this day and every day.

Carol Watchler
Community Outreach Coordinator
Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice
Stockton Street