When the South Florida Equality Rally for Unity and Pride in Fort Lauderdale was first announced, pro-LGBT, pro-women, and pro-human rights organizations in Palm Beach County planned on attending.
Now, they have their own rally at West Palm Beach City Hall, 401 Clematis St., on Sunday, June 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. It’s just one of several rallies in Florida and many more across the nation and the world, including in Florida Naples, Fort Lauderdale, and Key West and elsewhere in New York, Boston, Australia, Ontario, and Zurich.
The marches are planned to coincide with the national Equality March on Sunday, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C. Information on all rallies being organized can be found at EqualityMarch2017.org.
Traveling from South Florida to D.C. will be some protesters and the “Sacred Cloth Project,” the world’s longest [1.25 miles] Rainbow Flag, sewn in Key West, which was created in 2003 by Gilbert Baker to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his creation of the first Rainbow Flag.
After D.C., the flag will be brought back to Florida to be used in “Orlando United Day” on June 12 as part of the one-year observance of the Pulse Nightclub attack which occurred June 12, 2016. The flag is being delivered to the event by Hope Unity & Global Equality.
“We needed something in Palm Beach County,” said Julie Seaver, center operations director at the LGBT Compass Community Center, one of the organizations involved in planning the West Palm Beach march. “The people want a march here in Palm Beach.”
Other organizations include the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, MCC of the Palm Beaches, Lambda Legal Palm Beach, and the ACLU. The goal, said Seaver, was to include as many organizations possible, including religious groups.
“This is a march for unity and pride for all social justice causes. It’s not an anti-Trump rally but we do have to recognize that Trump is in our backyard,” said Seaver, referring to Trump’s winter White House at Mar-a-Lago.
“West Palm Beach has been at the forefront, not just of LGBT rights but of social justice rights. It makes perfect sense [to have it there].”
Marianne Baker isn’t gay but she wants to support her friends in the LGBT community by marching. She’s also afraid that federal resources for individuals like herself, who are HIV positive, will shrink under Trump.
“I’m surrounded with it all the time and I’m sick and tired of seeing the unfair way that people are treated, especially with someone like Trump coming in now,” said Baker, who lives in Lake Worth. “Considering the way he is trying to gut the Affordable Healthcare Act . . . I think I’m scared of what he’s going to take away.”
Seaver said multiple locations were considered for the march but didn’t work out for various reasons. Luckily, she said, the City of West Palm Beach provided the public plaza at city hall for free and without the need for permits, which made organizing the event virtually free of cost.
Unfortunately for the Equality Rally in Fort Lauderdale, held on Sunday, June 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Huizenga Plaza, 1 E Las Olas Blvd., fundraising is a necessity. To help pay for police officers to provide security and to control the crowd, rent the facility, pay for insurance, and other expenses, a GoFundMe page has been set up – GoFundMe.com/EqualityRallyFTL. As of June 5, $4,925 of the $10,000 goal has been raised.