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Pride march

Project Pride announces Grand Pride Flag March in Sarasota

| Suncoast Post Staff |

In response to the news that Florida would not be lighting its bridges – including the John Ringling Bridge in Sarasota – in rainbow colors for Pride Month this year, LGBTQ+ advocacy group Project Pride SRQ (PPSRQ) is planning to “light the bridge” its way: with the march of its Grand Flag over the Ringling Bridge. This event will take place on Saturday, June 29 at 9 a.m.

PPSRQ’s Grand Flag is the largest progressive Pride flag in the country, at more than 700 feet long. Event organizers invite the community to participate in a stunning display of unity and pride as walkers light up the bridge with their colorful presence. The vibrant celebration, showcasing the strength and diversity of our community, will start on the south end of the bridge.

Scheduled to speak before the walk begins are: activist Zander Moricz, who is the founder and executive director at the SEE (Social Equity through Education) Alliance; Jason Champion, PPSRQ president; Paul Lotierzo, PPSRQ executive director; Tom Edwards, Sarasota County School Board member; and Jules Rayne, Equality Florida community organizer.

Pride march

“Ever since the passage of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, Florida has become ground zero for discriminatory LGBTQ+ legislation, which is being replicated in numerous states across the country. Numerous media outlets and watchdog organizations are calling Florida the least gay-friendly state and we are sad to say that we agree,” said Champion. “As Governor DeSantis touts his so-called ‘Freedom Summer,’ with bridge lights limited to red, white and blue, we affirm our freedom to light the bridge our way: with love, inclusion and pride.”

Some of the anti-LGBTQ+ actions of Florida’s state legislators include bans on: teachers using pronouns that align with students’ gender identities (this has been blocked by a federal judge); gender-affirming care for minors (just blocked on June 11 by a federal judge); transgender individuals from changing their driver’s license to match their gender identity;  transgender women and girls from participating in female sports; crackdowns on drag shows (blocked by a federal judge). Additionally, Florida led the nation in the first half of the 2023-2024 school year, with the state responsible for more than 70% of the books that have been pulled from school libraries/classroom bookshelves across the nation.

“The LGBTQ+ community continues to face significant hurdles in this state. Yet I am in awe of the immense joy and resilience that defines our community here in Sarasota,” said Lotierzo. “It is a privilege to share in this joy and to stand with our siblings and allies as we navigate these trying times together. We look forward to robust attendance during our Grand Pride Flag March!”

Parking is available first-come, first-served at the John Ringling Bridge (920 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota); additional parking available at Bayfront Park. For more information, visit ppsrq.org/event. For more about Project Pride and all of its Pride Month events, visit ppsrq.org.

PHOTO IDs:
On June 29, Project Pride SRQ will ‘light the bridge’ with the Grand Pride Flag March
Activist Zander Moricz will be one of the speakers featured prior to the march
Provided photos/Project Pride

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