NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — June 1 kicks off pride month, but on Tuesday we got a first look at plans to celebrate the LGBTQ community in Niagara County.
There are a lot of events happening, including pride flag raising ceremonies, a new mural, a pride garden reveal, virtual karaoke and a shopping with pride week where local businesses will donate part of their profits to Niagara Pride. According to Niagara Pride, more than 30 businesses will be participating in the WNY Shopping With Pride fundraiser. Proceeds from this will be put towards Niagara Pride's programs planned for the rest of 2021 and 2022.
Ronald Piaseczny, president of Niagara Pride, says pride month is an important time to celebrate progress, but there's still a lot of work to be done.
"I think that there are assumptions that has been resolved, and that LGBTQ individuals are protected," Piaseczny said. "And that's just not the case. We still lack federal laws that, that protect us. So it's things like that, that June affords us those opportunities to talk to individuals to share that kind of information, and still advocate why pride is important."
Piaseczny said he hopes these pride events can act as an opportunity to continue those discussions on equal rights.
"We kind of always say, in the community, it's not that we want more rights or better rights, we just want equal rights, we just want the same rights that everyone else has, and that ability to enjoy life on the same fair grounds that everyone else does," Piaseczny said.
Niagara Pride also has a new provider directory which will help the LGBT community connect with specific programs and services.
"Individuals who may have unique health needs, may have unique counseling or legal needs or accounting needs, they may not necessarily know that there are affirming or LGBTQ specific programs available," Piaseczny said. "And so by having this directory, it kind of sheds light on who is there, who they can turn to and feel safe and welcomed at those programs."
Any business wishing to be included in the list can contact Niagara Pride to be added.
You can view the full list of pride themed events below:
- Pride Flag Raising Ceremonies – On June 1, there will be five flag raising ceremonies throughout Niagara County.
- The first will take place at Artpark, near the main stage area, from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
- The second is happening at Niagara Falls State Park, near the visitor center on Prospect Street, from 10:30 a.m.to 11 a.m.
- The third will take place at Niagara Falls City Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- The fourth is happening at North Tonawanda City Hall from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- And the last ceremony will take place at Lockport City Hall from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Pride Karaoke Night – This event is taking place June 11 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event is virtual, and anyone who wishes to attend can find the link at the Niagara Pride Facebook page.
- Pride Garden and Mural – The pride garden and mural will officially be unveiled to the public on June 28.
- Virtual LGBTQ+ Game Night – This event is taking place on June 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This event is also virtual, allowing people to catch up and play games over Zoom. The link to this event can be found at the Niagara Pride Facebook page.
- Niagara Falls Pride Illumination and Old Falls Street – From June 26 through June 28 people are invited to walk down the Pride Rainbow decorated street and check out the “Let’s Fall In Love” mural by Casey Milbrand. Don't forget to take a selfie at the Niagara Pride selfie station. And on June 28 at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Niagara Falls will be lit up three times in the Pride Rainbow.
For more information about Niagara Pride or the pride events, click here.