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Gay Pride in Bessemer (Ala)

The following article appeared in this week's Western Star. (It can also be seen, along with pictures, at Bessemer Opinions). This is evidence that equality events can and should take place in small communities as well as in large cities.

Jonesboro Community Garden turns into brightly colored beacon opf equality

On Saturday, June 25th, Jonesboro Community Garden in Bessemer turned into a brightly colored beacon of equality, as Gay Pride was celebrated for the first time in Bessemer. The event was sponsored by Bessemer Equality, a Facebook group, and Equality Alabama, a statewide advocacy organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Several dozen people representing the racial and sexual diversity of Bessemer attended the event, and the park welcomed them with a rainbow of colors. Letters in the colors of the rainbow flag spelled out “Bessemer Pride!” and a rainbow flag and a historic U. S. flag flew from the gazebo.

Just like an old time church social, the event was pot luck. Those in attendance shared barbecue ribs, potato salad, fresh fruit, bacon cheese bread, pizza, cinnamon bread, cup cakes and more. Toddlers chased bubbles being produced by a bubble machine. Music played from a system set up in the gazebo. “New York, New York,” sung by Liza Minelli, was played several times to commemorate the approval of marriage equality in New York state, which had happened just hours earlier.

In addition to Equality Alabama, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform, had a display. ACCR is a nonprofit group seeking to draft a new state constitution.

Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association also had a display, with large photos of historical homes in our areas, and promoted home ownership with displays and literature of homes that are for sale in the city.

Surprisingly, they also featured a photo display that portrayed economic development in Bessemer. The new DHR building, the Norfolk Southern railroad hub, and the Dollar General distribution center, were pictured.

One of their displays featured a poster sized reprint of an article from USA Today titled “Gay-tolerant societies prosper economically.”

An artist and jewelry maker rounded out the displays.

One of the aims of the event was to bring the gay community and the straight community together. An estimate reveals that two thirds of the people there were straight, so it certainly achieved that goal.

Thanks to all who helped put on this event, and to those who came. Bessemer is on the move, as evidenced by this recent article in the Birmingham News. As the article in USA today said, gay tolerant societies prosper, and here is the proof.

 

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