Princeton Pride ’22 returns to the streets

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Mike
Mike "Hot Pence" at Princeton Pride Parade 2019

Bayard Rustin Center organized Princeton’s 1st-ever Pride Parade

Two women on the stairs at BRCSJ with a pride flag to the right side of the photo
Photo from the BRCSJ website

The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice is planning for Princeton’s 2022 Pride Parade and After-Party. BRCSJ planned this historic first-ever event in the town of Princeton back in 2019. In 2020 and 2021 the group had to change and adapt and held virtual gatherings during the COVID pandemic. This year, Princeton Pride ’22, will be back outdoors with a parade and after-party on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

The parade begins at 11 AM from the Princeton Municipal Building on 400 Witherspoon Street. The after-party will be held at the Princeton YMCA great field at 59 Paul Robeson Place.

To lead the beautifully diverse and intersectional communities at the event, the BRCSJ says it is “simply over the moon” to announce Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka as the Princeton Pride Parade Grand Marshal.

Alan is the proprietor of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street as well as a popular actor and director in his own right on television and the Broadway stage. He recently won the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Children’s Programming” for Sesame Street’s “Family Day” episode, introducing the first family to include two gay dads.

“I am beyond thrilled and honored to act as Grand Marshal of the BRCSJ Princeton Pride Parade,” said Alan. “On Sesame Street, we try to teach tolerance, acceptance, and love, and I am inspired by the mission and vision of all the good folks at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, who are teaching the same values. Can’t wait to march with them and tell all our friends and fam how to get to Princeton Pride!”

In 2019, the BRCSJ organized Princeton’s 1st-ever Pride Parade with over 3,000 people in the streets. Then over the pandemic years in ’20 & ’21 they shared the community with over 25,000 viewers at the Center’s Virtual Pride. The events featured Billy Porter, Tituss Burgess, Billie Jean King, Sam Sparro, Jill Sobule, Sampson McCormick, Luis and Bob from Sesame St. and más y más!

In 2022, they return to the streets. “We invite all to join us as our LGBTQIA community & their friends, allies, and families (chosen or otherwise) march, dance, roll, stroll, and sashay through the historic Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood to end up at the fabulous after-party at the Princeton Y,” said BRCSJ Chief Activist Rob Martin Seda-Schreiber. “What better way to walk the wal, both literally and figuratively, of inclusivity and intersectionality than to bring together all of our beautifully diverse folks in Princeton and in the greater community!”

The event features Parade Queen “Miss Stonewall Inn” Cissy Walken. The flag-bearers are inspirational young members of the BRCSJ family Gabriella and Rose. Gabriella, who serves as BRCSJ Queer Youth Advocacy Community Liaison, delineates the meaningfulness of her participation. “We all have a home here at the Center, a safe space to learn and grow and celebrate all that we are. I was a broken child when I started getting involved with this community. Now I am a strong, confident, proud young woman. I am so grateful to be able to stand here today as my whole true self, and I cannot wait to now carry the BRCSJ flag at this extraordinary Pride event!”

Further representing at Princeton Pride 2022

BRCSJ Board Member Michelle Elizabeth Brown is a poet and activist from Detroit. She will share remarks on the stage in honor of Juneteenth. “As a Black queer woman, it is especially significant on the eve of Juneteenth, under the banner of the BRCSJ and the intersectionality implicit in our very mission, we celebrate Pride here in Princeton. As an African-American, Rustin fought against the injustice of racism while also living under the veil of homophobia. This year we not only celebrate community, but we do such acknowledging that one march, one holiday, doesn’t end the work; it only inspires us to carry on.”

Erin Worrell, Trans-Activist & BRCSJ Board President, said, “In a year that has seen a tremendous increase in attacks on the safety and wholeness of trans and queer youth, I’m thrilled that Princeton Pride is back in person so we can celebrate in joy and community together. I can’t wait to see everyone out on Witherspoon Street again.”

Maplewood, New Jersey’s first openly gay Mayor Dean Dafis is another BRCSJ Board Member. “Our pride is rooted in our continuous struggle,” said Dafis. “[It is] celebrated in our advances, evidenced in our local impact. I’m very proud of our significant local impact in the last couple of years as we have expanded our services to the community and broadened our reach nationally.”

Among those also taking part are BRCSJ Board Member Glen Pannell. He will bring his hot pants out of retirement to show he hasn’t missed a leg day since his time as everyone’s favorite faux Vice President Mike Hot-Pence. Others taking part include: Pride Puppets, who will celebrate 50 years of LGBTQIA history with 10-foot tall puppets of movement activist heroes; New Jersey state Senator Andrew Zwicker; Princeton Mayor Mark Freda; Queer icons Chet Kabara and Frank Mahood (co-founder of Gay People Princeton) who have been present at Pride events for decades in matching rainbow outfits; and the Philadelphia Freedom Band.

Please visit rustincenter.org for more information on how to march and participate, as well as how to donate, volunteer, or otherwise be of service.