W.Va.’s 1st pride march held at state Capitol building

CHARLESTON, W. Va.–The steps of the West Virginia Capitol building in Charleston will be the site June 22 of the first statewide pride festival in West Virginia’s history.

Borrowing the national pride theme, “Equality Through Visibility,” cochairs John M. Brown and Becky Dickman are organizing a 1?-mile march along Charleston’s prominent Kanawha Boulevard from the city office building to the state Capitol building.

Among the marchers scheduled are Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Covenant House AIDS Residence Program, gay and lesbian student groups from Marshall and West Virginia universities and two religious organizations, Appalachian Metropolitan Community Church and Dignity-West Virginia.

A festival and picnic will be held on the riverside grounds of the capitol building at the parade route’s end. Among the activities planned for the festival are local speakers, entertainment and music.

The first two “Power of One” medals will also be announced during the festival, Brown said. “They will be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people–living in the state or West Virginia natives –who, by their example, have demonstrated the difference one person can make.”

Organizers are encouraging parade participants and spectators to pack picnic lunches and bring their own supplies. Brown said parade marshals will be on hand to secure the picnic site during the parade. Public parking is available at both the city office building site and at the Capitol building, he added.

For more information on the West Virginia pride celebration, visit the Pride Committee’s web site at: http://www.wvgayinfo.com, or call (304) 345-9938.