A caravan of cars adorned with colorful pride flags and symbols paraded down Main Street in Half Moon Bay at noon on Monday, with Coastsiders honking and cheering from open windows. As they passed City Hall, where the rainbow Pride Flag hung side-by-side with the American Flag, the crescendo of cheers from the cars pedestrians grew louder.
This was the scene during the first event of the Coastside’s inaugural celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month. Last October, the CoastPride, a nonprofit which supports and raises awareness for LGBTQ families and individuals, hosted several events after Cabrillo Unified School District marked the month as LGBTQ History Month. In similar fashion, CoastPride worked with the city of Half Moon Bay and the CUSD to announce proclamations and commemorate June as LGTBQ Pride Month.
The drive-by parade and subsequent speeches were the first of several events organized by CoastPride. The nonprofit will host more events throughout the month, most of them virtual. More information and a complete schedule can be found at coastpride.org.
After the parade, roughly two-dozen people went to the Half Moon Bay Library for a social-distance gathering to hear remarks from several officials. The speeches underscored the collaboration across different public bodies and highlighted the need for cooperation during a time when there is much social unrest across the nation. Several speakers referenced large-scale protests in cities across the country that are bringing attention to police brutality.
“No matter who we are, no matter what our stories, no matter what our identities are, we all have a place in the fabric of this nation and this community,” CUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said.
“June has become a symbolic month in which the LGBTQ persons and allies come together in various celebrations of pride to support the community’s right to live their lives out loud,” Mayor Adam Eisen said. “Flying the rainbow flag at City Hall for the month of June further symbolizes the city’s celebration to diversity and support for the LGBTQ community.”
Dana Johnson, the commissioner of the San Mateo County Pride Initiative, framed this time of unity not just in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, an event that sparked days of unres, but also the Stonewall riots that rocked New York City after a 1969 police raid.
Monday’s event ended with a brief-but-heartfelt interfaith blessing from Rabbi Moshe Tom Heyn of the Coastside Jewish Community, Reverend Vicar Michael Barham of the Holy Family Episcopal Church, and Lisa Warner-Carey of the Community United Methodist Church.
“This is not America,” Heyn said. “We cannot stand idly by.”