A local “Free Mom Hugs” group was one of more than 30 chapters across the country that held a "Pride Ride" on Saturday. The national organization celebrates LGBTQ communities. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.
May 22 was Harvey Milk's birthday – the gay rights icon and San Francisco politician who was assassinated by a fellow city supervisor in 1978. To commemorate his life and show support for the local LGBTQ community, a small caravan drove through downtown Harrisonburg on Saturday, their cars festooned with balloons, streamers, and rainbow flags.
CHRISTINE JONES: We just want to let our local LGBTQ community know that they're loved and supported and we have their backs.
Christine Jones is the team leader for the Shenandoah chapter. She said that the ride was a way to kick off the pride season safely, while people are still transitioning out of mask-wearing and social distancing. But this was specifically not a parade, and their route wasn't released to the drivers until a day before the event. Jones said that was to keep the event safe for everyone involved.
JONES: There's a lot of vocal … opposition to visibility of the LGBTQ community, and this is a year for local elections, and we've seen a lot of negative talk in some of those spaces about the community. And so we just want to keep people safe above all.
At the end of the day, Jones just wants queer folks in the area to know –
JONES: We are not going to be quiet in our support. And to just let them know that we're fighting for you and we're standing with you, and we're here if you need us.