June is a time of “celebration,” according to the Library of Congress. It is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. During this time period, Americans recognize how …
June is a time of “celebration,” according to the Library of Congress. It is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. During this time period, Americans recognize how LGBTQ+ individuals have “strengthened” the USA through several kinds of recreational activities. Trivia nights, brunches, movie showings, webinars, drives, and additional events are occurring all over the St. Paul-Minneapolis area. As of recently, the LGBTQ+ community was honored in Hastings.
IDEA Hastings stands for “Inclusion, Diversity & Equality Alliance Hastings.” It is a nonprofit organization with a “devotion” to the community and local BIPOC residents. “We seek an end to the systemic barriers that perpetuate and reinforce racism in all spaces,” IDEA Hastings claims on their official website. “Through education, civic engagement, and love, we will end racism.”
In addition to their goal of resolving racism, IDEA Hastings calls themselves “allies” of the LGBTQ+ community. Their execution of a Pride event last Saturday modeled this alliance.
IDEA Hastings’ Pride Parade of 2021 started as a march and evolved into a “block party.” The walking portion of the festivity launched at 5pm at Roadside Park. With police intervention, the procession navigated safely past Highway 61 and 55. Later, they arrived at their destination. Marta Tierney described what transpired at the Hastings Riverwalk for the duration of the night: “We had the Riverwalk reserved, so we did have speakers and music and food trucks come up and some vendors. And then, I know people just would randomly stop over and listen to people speak.”
Tierney is one of the founders of IDEA Hastings. Succeeding the Pride Parade, The Journal had the pleasure of interviewing her and two other IDEA Hastings members. Marta Tierney, Anthony Cournoyea, and Tashina Miller revealed how and why they hosted it.
Assembling the Pride Parade consisted of several different tasks. IDEA Hastings had to contact city departments, the MN Food Truck Association, as well as local residents. Also, they rallied their volunteers and members to aid in facilitating the celebration.
IDEA Hastings completed all of the above within a short period of time. This is owing to the fact that statewide COVID-19 guidelines for June were unknown until about one month ago. On May 6, Governor Tim Walz revealed a timeline that would lead to the termination of Minnesotan COVID-19 restrictions. “We actually put this together in three weeks.” Tierney chuckled.
“We basically just threw it all together and it was what it was. And, it turned out, actually, a lot better than we…expected it to be,” Miller added.
IDEA Hastings had two motives for sorting out the Pride Parade. First, the nonprofit aimed to empower the LGBTQ+ community. Tierney identified this intention when she said, “One of the groups that are marginalized and not viewed [is the] LGBTQ community. And, this is just a way to give them a voice…let them feel that they are supported, they’re not alone, and bring everybody together, which, at least from what I [found] out, part of this community in Hastings have been really shy to speak out that they are who they are.”
The second motive that drove IDEA Hastings to organize the Pride Parade was outlined by Cournoyea. He claimed that they wished to “bring a different look to Hastings; a more diverse look to Hastings.”
IDEA Hastings’ efforts enabled a myriad of humans to show their support for Pride Month. In fact, a first-time entrant of a Pride parade appeared at Roadside Park last Saturday with her brother. Ty had desired to show Jamicia what events such as these were about. Witnessing people unite during Pride Month reminds Ty of a type of reunion. In an interview with The Journal, he remarked, “I would say that it’s…kind of like a family gathering where people are just not alone and nobody should be afraid to be judged and just literally all love.”
With that, Ty escorted Jamicia to the Pride Parade. They were both decked out in colorful clothing and face paint. Ty mentioned that through his “style” and “fashion,” he was contributing to the festivity.
Bianca and Lindsie are residents of Eau Claire, WI. They made the 85-mile trip to Hastings, MN on June 12. This was not the first instance in which both ladies had ventured far for a Pride experience. “We typically hit a few different Pride parades so, we’re not local, but we like to travel and celebrate our Pride family wherever they are,” Bianca expressed. “It’s really fun coming to…other small, little cities and seeing how much more people come each year…It’s fascinating, it makes your heart happy!”
While chatting with The Journal, Lindsie insisted that it would take “decades” to list every essential progression for sparking feelings of safety and love in LGBTQ+ people. Bianca and herself mentioned one area in need of attention. Oftentimes, transgender people residing in little communities do not have local clinics that provide transition care. Twelve years ago, Bianca needed to drive her son from a small town in Wisconsin to Minneapolis in order to reach it. Although she affirmed that further work needs to be done to elevate the LGBTQ+ community, Lindsie noted that “impressive” improvements have surfaced over the years: “But, it’s much better. It has grown, there’s a lot more positive…than there was like ten years ago. So, seeing how much it’s grown and more stuff is available to people of…the whole LGBTQ community, it’s pretty impressive.”
A couple of organizations and teams marched alongside IDEA Hastings’ Pride Parade’s entrants. Elizabeth Lamin is an Assistant Ramsey County Attorney. Currently, she is campaigning to become the next Dakota County Attorney. Lamin and her supporters walked and distributed beads and candy last Saturday. “I’m hoping to run for Dakota County Attorney [and] represent everyone and make sure that everyone feels included and there is a space for everyone,” Lamin responded when questioned about what motivated her involvement in the Pride Parade.
Dr. Lesley Atwood represented Alina Health at the Pride Parade. Her organization walked a dressed-up dog and presented handmade posters during the march. In addition, the clinic gifted The Journal a rainbow- colored lei and, to the public, free water. The Pride Parade deemed significant to Alina Health. Dr. Atwood proved, “Honestly, it just means to let the GLBTQ community know that we really, really welcome the community into the clinic and expect them to feel like they have…a safe and welcoming atmosphere.”
Meanwhile, Alex Palacios stated that it was “important” for them to attend the walk. They are the Chair of the LGBTQ Caucus of the Minnesota Democratic- Farmer-Labor Party named, Stonewall DFL. “We go to a ton of different Pride Events across the state…” Palacios smiled. “This is who we are. We are here because we are queer. We support movements of liberation for queer people and for anyone who deals with oppression. Because, we know that queerness exists at the intersection of race, gender…politics…so many other identities that people hold. And so, for us, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here at this very first and amazing event.”
It was a pleasure for The Journal to partake in IDEA Hastings’ Pride Parade of 2021 as well.
To grasp what IDEA Hastings has in store regarding upcoming events, one can visit ideaorganization.org/ upcoming-events.