Pridefest is Here
On Saturday, June 15 over 100,000 people are expected to celebrate the RI PrideFest & Parade with the bold theme
Live Your Truth.
Rhode Island Pride invites you and your family (of whatever tradition) to reject the societal expectations imposed on you, and to come out and Live Your Truth, with pride. Despite our progress over the years, society still assumes that everyone, from the moment of birth, is cis and straight. You’re expected to wear certain things, love certain people, and accept being referred to with certain pronouns. You’re expected and assumed to be someone other than who you truly may be.
The Live Your Truth theme for 2019 reflects what’s at the heart of Pride: an opportunity to be exactly who you are, out in the open. The theme celebrates the numerous different genders, skin colors, sexual orientations, ages, races, religions, physical and mental abilities, national origins, and ethnicities (among many other factors) that make each of us who we are. We’ll especially live our truths by parading through the streets and showcasing the beautiful range of diverse individual identities among us.
The annual PrideFest is located on South Water Street from noon to 7pm and features live entertainment, over 200 vendors, the Hasbro Kid’s Zone, food trucks, arts, a Youth Center, and a beer, wine and spirits garden. The annual rally takes place at 3pm with a special commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots. South entry is by Wickenden Street, and the north entrance is where Memorial Blvd. meets South Water Street.
Entertainers include DJ Ephraim Adamz, Brian Faltudo (from School of Rock), local bands Jodi Jolt and The Volt and the Mary Day Band, drag king Spikey Van Dykey, and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: Alaska 5000, Adore Delano, Monique Heart, and Jasmine Masters. Hosts include Suite Tart Salon owner Lulu Locks, comedian John Kelley, and local drag performers Annie B. Frank, Kira Stone, and Complete Destruction.
New England’s only night time Pride Parade kicks off at 8pm with a dazzling display of floats, performing artists, marching groups, businesses, and spectators. The Parade begins on Dorrance Street, winds down Washington Street to Empire Street, and ends on Weybosset Street under the iconic marquee of the Providence Performing Arts Center. A new accessible viewing area will be located at the corner of Empire and Weybosset Street for anyone with a wheelchair or who would like a place to sit.
The energy in the city will be electric! To participate in the parade or festival, sign up at www.prideri.org. Please see the Options Calendar on page 8 for details about our many Pride Month events. Rhode Island Pride is PROUD to announce two Grand Marshals of the 44th Annual RI Pride Parade who are helping us truly embody our “Live Your Truth” theme for this year.
Justice Ameer Gaines is a well-known community organizer, activist, and accomplished poet who is a genderfluid Black trans woman. Xe currently serves as the Queer Justice Coordinator for the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), and is known for playing a key role in the passage of the Community Safety Act, which, among other things, guarantees trans individuals the right to be searched by a police officer of their chosen gender identity. Justice, who treats xyr very name as a serious call to action, believes in a holistic approach to social justice. “We can’t work on housing unless folks have jobs to afford rent,” xe explained, “and we cannot work on employment without also ensuring folks have healthcare so they can stay employed.”
The Providence Student Union is a non-profit group of high school student chapters that works to raise up student voices and give young people the chance to shape their schools and futures. Founded in 2010, the group’s proposed Student Bill of Rights seeks to ensure, among other things, that students are afforded freedom of expression, including “the right to express their identity, including their gender identity, and have it be respected and not policed.”
Our Honorary Parade Marshals are being posthumously acknowledged this year. Lovingly known as the “King of Clubs,” Chris Harris was an award-winning event producer and community organizer. He was the co-owner of Club EGO in Providence and provided some of the best LGBTQIA+ nightlife experiences that captivated Providence and Boston audiences and forever changed the industry. Chris was a pivotal leader in the community and proud to have created safe environments where people could come together to celebrate who they are. The Chris Harris Tribute Fund (ChrisHarrisTribute. org) has been established to support an LGBTQ cancer prevention and education program in Rhode Island and beyond.
Belle Pellegrino was a fierce champion for everything she believed in. In 1976, she helped lead the charge to hold the first Pride Parade in Providence. When the City denied the permits, she fought back in court and won. She marched as one of the original “76ers” in Rhode Island’s first Pride Parade. Belle spent her life inspiring
others to give back to their community. She volunteered as an
EMT and with many organizations, served as a pastor, and reigned
as Emperor 16 and 24 of the Imperial Court of Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised
of individuals with a sincere interest in recognizing, promoting and
celebrating the diversity and successes of the LGBTQ community in RI
and Southern New England. By creating opportunities for integrating
and promoting visibility for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and
queer community, RI Pride promotes equal rights and diversity through
public education and the arts. The year-round programs and services of
RI Pride provide safe opportunities and venues for people to come out
and express and celebrate their sexual identities. For more information,