Princeton to celebrate in ‘pride and joy’ together

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Annual PRIDE parade in Princeton attracted more than 4,000 participants and observers last year

The annual PRIDE parade, organized by the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, is set to step off at 11 a.m. at 400 Witherspoon St. June 17, according to Robt Martin Seda-Schreiber, the center’s chief activist.

The marchers will walk up Witherspoon Street to Paul Robeson Place and an “after-party” at the Princeton YMCA field around 12:30 p.m., Seda-Schreiber said. The parade is held in June to celebrate PRIDE Month for the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual) community.

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The first PRIDE parade was held in 2019, but went virtual in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was held in-person last year and attracted more than 4,000 participants and observers, Seda-Schreiber said.

This year’s PRIDE parade’s grand marshals are actor and Sesame Street star Alan Muraoka and trans activist Gavin Grimm. Muraoka also sits on the board of directors for the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice.

In his role as “Alan,” Muraoka is the proprietor of “Hooper’s Store” on the Sesame Street children’s television show. He won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Children’s Programming for Sesame Street’s “Family Day” episode that featured the first family to include two gay dads.

Grimm is a 24-year-old transgender activist who sued the Gloucester County (Virginia) Public School Board in 2015. The lawsuit stemmed from whether Grimm, who was a biological female but whose gender identity was male, could use the boys’ bathroom at school. Grimm prevailed.

The parade will feature parade queens “Miss Stonewall Inn” Cissy Walken and “Becoming a Queen” author Carrie Dragshaw. The PRIDE flag-bearer is activist and author Rebekah Bruesehoff.

Erin Worrell, a trans-activist and president of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice’s board of directors, said she is looking forward to the PRIDE parade.

“In a year that has seen a tremendous increase in attacks on the safety and wholeness of trans and queen youth, I am thrilled that the Princeton PRIDE parade is back so we can celebrate in joy and community together,” Worrell said.

Elected officials are expected to participate, including Princeton Mayor Mark Freda, U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-4) and state Senator Andrew Zwicker (D-16).

Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis, who also sits on the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice’s board of directors and is that town’s first openly gay mayor, is expected to march.

The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, which is sponsoring the parade, states that it is a dedicated queer safe space, community activist hub and educational bridge for LGBTQIA persons.

For more information on the Pride parade and afterparty or on BRCSJ, visit www.rustincenter.org.

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