Commemorating Stonewall, LGBTQIA Community marks International Pride Day

Friday marks International Pride Day, a significant date for the LGBTQIA community to both honor historical milestones and plan for future advocacy.

According to Cheryl Czach, Executive Director at Affirmations, the day serves as an important reminder of pivotal events in the struggle for LGBTQI+ rights.

"It recognizes and remembers the riots of the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Today is the anniversary of that, and Pride kind of came out of that riot that started back then," said Czach.

Looking beyond reflection, members of the community are also setting their sights on the upcoming election year as a critical juncture for LGBTQI+ rights.

"In particular, now coming into an election year, of course, it’s more important than ever that we think about this kind of journey that we've been on and what's at stake," Czach highlighted.

For Affirmations, a pivotal community center in southeast Michigan, priorities include advocacy and ensuring that recent progress in LGBTQI+ rights is preserved and advanced, Czach pointed out.

Meanwhile, Julisa Abad, a steadfast activist and Director of Outreach, Transgender Advocacy & Victim Advocate at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, works toward justice through the Fair Michigan Justice Project.

"Since our start date in 2016, we’ve expanded to Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Ingham County," Abad said. "We've done over 50 assaultive capital cases with a 100% conviction rate."

Abad also underscores the significance of supportive legislation, such as the 2022 expansion of the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act, which now offers the LGBTQI+ community an avenue to combat discrimination legally.

"What that means for my community, is now they have the opportunity to civilly sue if someone discriminates against them," Abad said.

As International Pride Day unfolds, Affirmations and its organizers champion the idea that pride and allyship can manifest in various ways.

"If you're an ally, you should be out doing something about that," Czach said. "And one small way that you can do that is to celebrate pride."


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