Pride March gives participants a voice in Chico’s community


Several Pride Marchers with their queer week posters. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

Cars could be heard honking as marchers chanted, “Our queer rights are under attack, what do we do,” in the streets of downtown Chico.

The participants were walking in the Pride March Friday, that was led by the Gender & Sexuality Equity Coalition (GSEC) as a part of “Queer Week.” The march was held to give people in the LGBTQ+ community a space to fight back against homophobia.

Marchers chanted, “Stand up, fight back,” and, “Out of the closet, into the street,” while walking past businesses in the downtown area.

Pride archers walking through downtown Chico. Photo credit: Keelie Lewis

Event coordinator, Cassandra Hernandez, spoke on the importance of events like the march.

“Even if only about three of us show up, to those three people, this means a lot because this is a way for them to be out or at least be amongst people who are like-minded,” said Hernandez.

Steven Trujillo and Etsuwa Umemoto also expressed their favorite part of the march on how it felt to be a part of it.

“(My favorite part was) yelling, because I felt like I haven’t been able to yell a message but then like mean it and be heard by the people around you,” said Trujillo.

“So it was really cool to be able to walk around and for the people around to support it too.”

Umemoto wanted to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. Umemoto was excited to experience the Queer week because of her home country, Japan being very conservative.

The event marked the end of “Queer week” for GSEC. As the main event to raise awareness, it led to a lot of positivity from those who participated.

“We all empower each other,” said core program coordinator, Drew Belisle, who led the march.

“If someone else is feeling down we are all like, how can we help you? Like (we) give the most amount of love to each one of use. We’re all growing together.”

Alex Coba can be reached at [email protected] or @ThatOneGuyCoba on Twitter.