NYC Hosts Their 49th Annual Pride Day Through Greenwich Village
By Cecilio Leacock IBexclusive News Sunday, June 24, 2018.
(IBEXNews) - Rainbow flags are the order of the day in New York City and in cities around the world in celebration of gay pride.
At least 2 million people were expected as the 49th annual Pride March made its way through Midtown and Greenwich Village Sunday.
The event commemorates the riots that erupted in response to a police raid at a New York gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in June 1969.
Onlookers and participants in New York noted those origins at Sunday's event, which was both a celebration of the diversity of LGBT culture and a statement against anti-LGBT policies promoted by President Donald Trump, such as the Republican president's attempt to ban all transgender people from serving in the military. They also spoke out against policies aimed at other communities, like immigrants and minorities.
"We're making a statement that we're here, everybody. Whether it's immigrants, whether it's queer people or people of color, we're not going to put up with what this administration is doing," said Diego Molano of Queens, at his second pride parade. "You can't just cage everybody up."
Olivia Nadler, a Connecticut resident attending her third parade, said "people that are oppressed are not going to go away, they're not going to be quiet, they're not going to be ignored."
Elected officials, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, were among those attending the march.
Security was tight, with barricades up along the march route on Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street.
The NYPD says there is no credible threat, but thousands of uniformed and plain clothes officers were along the march route, along with 100 blocker cars and sand trucks.
"We encourage anyone at the march who sees anything suspicious to let an officer know or please call 911," said NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison. "Events like this are a celebration of the diversity in New York City and what makes us the greatest city in the world."
Last year the march lasted 9 hours and 38 minutes and some streets remained closed overnight in Greenwich Village.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King was one of the grand marshals this year, along with transgender advocate Tyler Ford and civil rights organization Lambda Legal.
The theme of this year's march was "Defiantly Different." It featured eighty floats and tens of thousands of marchers.
March organizers honored "community heroes" including Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor Emma Gonzales.
To coincide with the event, a New York state memorial to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people that honors victims of intolerance opened to the public on Sunday.
Gov. Cuomo officially unveiled the monument in Hudson River Park in Manhattan. It has nine boulders with pieces of glass installed in them that can act as prisms and reflect rainbows in sunlight. It was designed by artist Anthony Goicolea, of Brooklyn.
Cuomo formed the commission to come up with an LGBT memorial after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that left 49 people dead.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)