Annual Redwood Pride parade takes place in Old Town Eureka

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Redwood Pride hosted their parade this morning in Old Town, and there was an impressive turnout. 

People of all ages were out celebrating pride, love, and most importantly, community. 

We spoke to the director of Redwood Pride to learn more. 

“There was nobody else doing anything, and it didn’t feel right not to have something, so we managed to make something work, and it’s just been kind of growing since. It was going pretty good before Covid. And this is our best year since coming back from that”, says Aepryl Nikolai, director of Redwood Pride. 

Unlike other pride events in the nation, people come from far and wide to gather. 

“A lot of very familiar faces and it’s nice to be able to get different community groups out here and involve them because then they recognize a lot of people that are attending as well and reach out to them with their services. So that’s probably one of the big parts of it is community. 

I say [people travel from] easily 100 miles. So, you know, we’ve had people as far away as Redding, Crescent City, that of Southern Humboldt, but I can’t say exactly where”, she says.

Volunteers with the Free Mom Hugs organization were also happy to spread the message of love.

“Well, Free Mom hugs had started as a movement just because a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community get rejected by their families whenever they come out, and we were just moms that wanted to make a difference. Like, ‘I’m your mom now!’, and now it’s an actual organization”, says Trish McGee of Free Mom Hugs.  

When it comes to what makes Pride important, the answer was simple. 

“Spreading the love. That’s what we’re all about. So some people just need an extra hug. Some people need an extra mom. And I also have assistants with me to give out free sibling hugs or free hugs. And on the website you can get shirts that say free dad hugs, uncles, siblings, brothers, sisters”, says McGee. 

“Just to let people in the queer community know that they’re not alone, that there are plenty of other people here that are like them, support them, and they help take care of them if they need to be”, says Nikolai.

The next Redwood Pride Fundraiser, the Pancake Agenda, will be on Saturday June 22nd at the Eureka Center for Spiritual living and you can learn more here. https://www.inkpeople.org/dreammaker-data/redwoodpride

Story by Tucker Caraway