NMI celebrates Pride Month with motorcade

Community Bulletin
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(Press Release) — In a celebration of Pride Month, family, friends, allies, community members, businesses, and agencies joined together for the first-ever Ride 4 Pride Motorcade.

This monumental event was led by Pride Marianas Youth and was a historic showing of solidarity in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Daniel Brown, Pride Month 2020 Chair, said, “due to the social distancing requirements brought about by Covid-19, the youth volunteers strategized to celebrate this very important month.” He noted, “while we had many events planned, we decided that an island-wide motorcade would be the safest way to still come together. The Ride 4 Pride event was the culmination of a month of activities that included social media campaigns, virtual contests, radio interviews, editorials, YouTube read alouds, educational webinars, and other virtual activities to empower braver, safer and more inclusive spaces, particularly for our youth to know that their island community is behind them.

Dr. Jennifer Maratita, founder and president of Pride Marinas Youth shared, “My heart is so full with the outpouring of support from our committee leads, volunteers, and community partners. Their creativity and hours spent organizing the Pride month 2020 activities to promote and celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community, especially our youth, was a testament of hope and change for a more colorful and inclusive Marianas.

 

Over 200 vehicles and an estimated 700 participated in Marpi on Saturday for the first-ever Ride4Pride Marianas motorcade in celebration of CNMI Pride Month. Pride Marianas Youth Volunteers photos

Businesses and organizations like Tan Holding, Ace Hardware, Duty-Free Shopping, Marpac, Docomo Pacific, Sorenson Media Group, Herman’s Modern Bakery, Edvance Pacific, Sup Saipan, Roil Soil Clothing, Soresen Media Group, Commonwealth Cancer Association, CNMI Public School System, Northern Marianas College, Northern Marianas Colation Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Humanities Council, GLS/Community Guidance Center, Department of Public Safety were proud sponsors. Other supporters included numerous representatives including, Rep. Sheila Babauta and Rep. Luis John Castro.

Volunteers from MyPros, Marianas Outrigger Club, Marianas Paddling Club, Saipan Paddling Club, NMC Pride Club, and numerous others gave their time and effort to make the event a success. Other volunteers included Stellar Marianas and Miss Marianas 2019 Shannon Sasamoto, who led the motorcade followed by local comedian Chinaman, Patric Arriola. The motorcade was also supported by the motorcycle clubs, Matua Riders, Young Gunz, and the car club, Down2Ride. Social influencer Chubby Robbie and Studio 29:11 helped promote the event on social media. The Pacific Century Fellows Class of 2019 and 2020 also added to celebration by repainting the Rainbow Crosswalk in front of Fiesta Resort.

The motorcade began in Marpi and made its way around the island villages, with multiple wave stations coordinated by agencies and families. These groups included the 4-H Club, the Division of Youth Services, CNMI Suicide Youth Prevention Program, Healthy Transitions, Systems of Care, Commonwealth Health Care Corporation, and several youth and family groups.

Dr. Bobby Cruz, Pride Marianas Youth volunteer shared, “Pride Month is a celebration of unity. It has been a tradition that goes all the way back to the Stonewall Riots in New York. While we’ve seen tremendous progress in the past 50 years for the advancement of LGBTQIA+ rights, it’s still important because there’s still work to be done to ensure that marginalized groups, particularly our LGBTQ+ community, have an opportunity to participate in this world that they are a part of. Pride is about individuals coming together to support and love one another, resist intolerance and discrimination, and create room for all individuals to thrive.   

In the past the CNMI observed Pride week. However, the Torres-Palacios administration expanded the celebration by declaring CNMI's first-ever Pride Month. “We need to work together to create a loving and accepting environment, especially for our LGBTQIA+ youth,” said Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios. The work continues to ensure that the CNMI chooses love that sees no bounds. In doing so, we commit to empowering a braver, safer, and more inclusive Marianas.

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