3rd annual PRIDE March in downtown Harlan

Published 8:48 am Friday, July 5, 2024

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Downtown Harlan was the location for the 3rd annual Harlan, Kentucky PRIDE March on Saturday, June 29, with participants coming from throughout the region to show support for the local LGBTQ community.
Will Taylor, who organized this year’s event, provided some specifics during an interview just before the event kicked off at 10 a.m.
“Today, we are going to have some music, there’s going to be a reading of a banned book, ‘My Shadow is Pink,’ there’s going to be face painting, there’s going to be a march, and there’s going to be a prize given,” Taylor said.
Taylor detailed the route the march followed through downtown Harlan.
“Everybody who’s here today is going to do the march,” Taylor said. “The march is going to go from the corner of the Harlan County Courthouse, down Central Street, up Main Street, down Mound Street, and back.”
Taylor also talked about the impact of the march.
“It hasn’t been that long ago that we got the right to do this,” Taylor said. “I’m very happy with Harlan, the way we haven’t had anybody protest these last three years. We’ve had very little comments on social media, everybody seems fine, this is a good thing, it brings us all together.”
Ashley Bledsoe has attended the event all three years it has occurred.
“I am here to support all the LGBTQ people in our community,” Bledsoe said. “Visibility saves lives. They need to know that they’re worthy, they’re loved and they’re welcome, and that there is a community here that will embrace them and celebrate them for who they are.”
Serenity Johnson, of Radcliff, came to show support for a friend originally from Harlan County.
“Last year, I went to a lot of these kinds of events to show support for the community,” Johnson said. “This one meant a lot to my friend. Her family is from this area, so we made it a point to come and make sure people see how important it is that we are able to be ourselves.”
Samantha Farley helped plan this year’s event.
“It’s really important to me as a transwoman who was born here to keep this going year to year,” Farley said. “I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Along with organizing this year’s march, Taylor is the Southeastern Kentucky Director for The Kentucky Equality Federation.
“We would also like to thank Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College for supporting us and their donation of water and presence here today,” Taylor said. “Also, we would like to thank Kentucky Fairness, Chris Hartman, for always supporting us. We ended up, after counting the tickets, nearing 100 people. Some joined in the middle of the march, and some came to hear the ending speeches.”
Lily Milovnik, who organized last year’s march, was also in attendance.
“I’m really proud of what happened last year,’ Milovnik said. “I’m just glad that I was able to show up here and participate in the event. Hopefully we can continue to have this be a yearly event and continue to grow each year.”

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