Pride event turns up the heat on equality
About 80 people — adorned in rainbow flags — braved summer heat in excess of 100 degrees Saturday afternoon, June 26, at Centennial Plaza in downtown Sandy to show their pride on one of the final days of Pride Month, internationally celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals.
The Sandy event was organized by the student-led group Students Advocating for Equality (SAFE).
"I am so grateful for everyone who had come (to the event) and the love we had shared," said Amaya Peralta, one of the managers of SAFE. "The celebration was a perfect example of queer resilience and determination."
Young and old converged on the plaza — laughing, exchanging cooling shots from water pistols, and sharing messages of love, hope and respect. The lively gathering was far different from an event held earlier that morning.
Universal Pentecostal Church Pastor Russell Collier held a smaller — and noticeably less energized — gathering during the cooler hours Saturday morning. Collier preached a sermon to about 10 people assembled in the plaza.
Concerns were raised ahead of the pride event that members of the Proud Boys might arrive in town to stand with Collier and his congregation, as they have at other rallies. The Proud Boys are a far-right organization described as a hate group by members of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
As it turned out, there were no Proud Boy sightings during the earlier church gathering or during the pride event.
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