Pride 2019, with a parade and festival on June 22, had fantastic UU participation from every Cincinnati congregation. Once again, our parade effort was headed by Juli Rose who drove her van and several UUs. A big thank you to Miranda Fash and Riley Taylor who helped decorate. This year we sported about a dozen different flags representing various sexual orientations and identities. The standing-on-the-side-of-love and the rainbow rally signs with various progressive ideas that UUs support filled out a very colorful group of about 40 marchers. The slight drizzle added umbrellas with even more color adding to the cacophony of spectacle.
Thanks to those who helped in parade and booth prep including Miranda Fash, Luke Germann, and Sean McBride. A huge thanks to Russ Araujo for organizing the online signup and taking pictures of the parade.
The Unitarian Universalist Council pride booth was set up by MJ Pierson and Sean McBride with the assistance of Liz Woedl and her daughter. Staffing the booth all day was a team effort with two-hour shifts. Thanks to Riley Taylor, Lila Ruth Cooper, the Lutz-Stewart family, Lee Meyer, Dot Christensen, Pat Smart, Greg Terhune and Bo Wachendorf, and Barbara Dickerson for helping to staff. The booth stayed busy all day with a particular rush from about noon to 3 when we handed out roughly 800 items to Pride attendees. The rainbow-braided bracelets were a huge hit and the sashes with either bisexual or transgender colors went fast. Business cards leading to the UU Council website accompanied all the geld. We were totally out of items by about 5 o’clock. Our location for the booth was excellent and afforded us a lovely view of the river and shade from trees and the 471 bridge.
To pack up the booth, Joel And Jeannie Araujo and their toddler Crosley came to help, and Sean and Joel walked the booth items to pack the car. We left around 6:30 p.m. just as the evening crowd were arriving; had we had more items to give out, I’m sure we could have spent the time until 9 o’clock. I want to take a moment of personal privilege to thank my son Sean for all the work he does regarding Pride. Hours of his time, and his support of me, are so appreciated.
I, MJ Pierson, have coordinated the UU council effort at Pride for roughly the past 10 years. It would be wonderful to have someone else step up to take on this task. Talk to those who participated in staffing the booth. They will tell you how important our participation as a faith community is in Pride. Each one of us heard the story from at least one attendee of how their faith community had not supported them in their coming out, or had even asked them to leave their faith home. We have traced visiting the booth to visiting our congregations but we cannot look at this as an immediate advantage for our churches. We need to look at this as long-term evangelism of the Unitarian Universalist message. So many of the Pride attendees that we talk to are youth and young adults who will eventually, hopefully find their way to us. At Pride they at least find out that UU exists. Many of these young people may not be in a position to choose their faith home yet — but as their lives continue — at some point in the future they will be looking.
Unfortunately, Cincinnati Pride is always the same weekend as the UUA General Assembly. If you find yourself home on the third weekend, usually solstice weekend, of June, please plan to be a part of next year’s Pride. We always have a fantastic time!