NFSJ student intern Alice Wang contributed to this article
June is the time for LGBTQ+ Americans and their allies to celebrate Pride Month! Pride Month coincides with the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969, a monumental event for the gay rights movement. Pride parades and events now occur around the world and signify a safe gathering space for members of the LGBTQ+ community-or just anyone who wants to attend.
Winchester held its first ever PRIDEfest on June 9th, 2021 in the Winchester Town Common, featuring musical acts, a drag performer, and speeches from students in the McCall QSA club and WHS Spectrum club. Surrounding the mainstage, booths set up in the Town Common displayed pride crafts and information about LGBTQ+ activism, presence in the media, and impact on the arts. The event was organized by the Network For Social Justice staff, NFSJ interns, and members of the McCall Social Justice Club and QSA. The event was attended by over 300 Winchester residents, and was a great achievement for the student organizers and their faculty advisors
This year, the NFSJ co-sponsored PRIDEfest 2022 with the Town of Winchester, and we were incredibly fortunate to receive financial support from the following business sponsors: Bryant Park Design, Fuller Cup, Frozen Hoagies, Recover Green Roofs, Dara Singleton of The Shanahan Group, Winchester Cultural Council, and WUSYG.
More than 500 people from Winchester and many surrounding communities packed the Winchester Town Common for what was truly a celebratory and inclusive gathering. The event featured student-run educational booths focused on the history of Pride, anti-trans legislation and current events, mental health awareness, things LGBTQ+ teens wish their parents knew, as well as craft tables with opportunities to make Pride-themed bracelets, decorate t-shirts, and color pride flags with information about LGBTQ+ identities. The mainstage featured DJ Herve Simon, a performance by Hudson, MA-based Dance on Dance Center, WHS band Lint, and speeches by students from WHS Spectrum, McCall’s QSA club, and McCall’s Social Justice Club, as well as a representative of NAGLY. Many Winchester-based businesses and nonprofits also set up tables with crafts and fun giveaways for attendees.
Winchester’s PRIDEfest is an opportunity to amplify LGBTQ+ issues and identities so that our community can not only celebrate our LGBTQ+ neighbors, but also learn how to meaningfully support them. We are so incredibly grateful to our many individual and business sponsors for their financial support, as well as the many volunteers for their hard work and vision.