Port celebrates Pride Month with walk and festival

Port celebrates Pride Month with walk and festival
The excitement at the second annual Port Washington Pride Walk and Festival on Saturday afternoon was unaffected by the prospect of rain. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Lehrhaupt)

Threats of rain did not deter the celebrations at Port Washington Pride Walk and Festival on Saturday afternoon.

The second annual celebration, sponsored by the nonprofit Be The Rainbow, recognized the LGBTQIA+ community and their battle for equality.

“We organized the very first Pride Walk and Festival last year. It was the first Pride celebration of any kind in the Town of North Hempstead,” said Melanie D’Arrigo, co-founder of Be The Rainbow. “Which is kind of shocking and sad.”

D’Arrigo is also a congressional candidate in New York’s 3rd District.

The celebration began at 1 p.m. at Bay Walk Park and ended at Sunset Park with a festival. Despite dreary skies, attendees provided color to the celebration with a storm of rainbow flags and clothing.

Attendees could eat and shop from queer-owned and allied vendors while listening to live music. Ripple Creative arranged the market, which was new to the event this year. 

Amanda Khalil, the group’s co-founder, recalled her sister’s difficulty in coming out as a lesbian. She said that it influenced her to take part in the event.

“It’s just such a joyous occasion to see a whole community kind of wrap their arms around kids, the teens, the families and let them know ‌they are loved,” she said.

Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Gina Sillitti and Mariann Dalimonte were among the several local politicians who attended the event.



Speakers delivered several remarks throughout the event. Dee Dee Olsen, a mother, shared the story of her transgender child.

She recounted how, after initially opposing her child’s transition, she came to accept and support it.

“This is not your journey. As parents, we are merely along for the ride. We must be supporters — their very first supporters,” Olsen said. “We have to protect our LGBTQIA+ children, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, especially in this current climate. We must protect them in schools. We must protect them in how we vote. When your child speaks to you, listen.”

She pointed out that uncertain parents must put their sentiments aside and be their child’s greatest ally.

“To the young people here today, to all the LGBTQIA+ people—continue being brave,” Olsen said. “Continue your journey. Take the pride you feel today, take the love and acceptance you feel today and carry it every day.”

Throughout June, Pride celebrations will take place around the world. They began the year after the Stonewall Riots in New York City in June 1969, which is seen as a pivotal point in the queer rights movement.

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