On April 13th and under threatening skies, Daytona Pridefest took off with enthusiasm. Vendors from around Volusia County set up in a square surrounding the performance stage.
For the fist time we were joined by Embry Riddle University G.S.A (gay straight alliance). and the Deland High school G.S.A. The Deland crew did face painting and took a brave step to be out and proud. They set a standard for all high schools to stand up and embrace diversity. With the help of the Pride fest Committee, the Embry Riddle booth was set up next to them. Friendships were forged, and those high school students now know that as they graduate they can continue on to Universities with the support of G.S.A. clubs and moreover, know that they are not alone.
Three years ago I volunteered for Equality Florida with nothing but old beach umbrella and a folding chair. We set out on foot into the crowd with clip boards to gather signatures to defeat the so called “Marriage Protection Act” . Very few of the hundreds in attendance had ever heard of Equality Florida or the looming threat to their civil rights.
Now three years later, the tide is turning. It was remarkable to see everyone collecting signatures to pledge a vote of NO on #2 . Clip boards were filled with names and buttons and pamphlets were distributed by: Equality Florida/ Fairness for All Families, the A.C.L.U. , Florida Red & Blue and Embry Riddle G.S.A.
As the afternoon sun found its way though the clouds, we watched the University and High school G.S.A’s. playing tackle Frisbee in the grass of the quad. It would seem to be such a simple thing. But they send a message of inspiration. They are a generation of change.
David P. Perreault
Volusia County Facilitator, Equality Florida