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Pride Month Kicks Off In Albany During Uneasy Time In The City

Flags over Albany City Hall, June 1, 2020
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Flags fly over Albany City Hall, June 1, 2020

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan launched Pride Month in front of City Hall Monday at an uneasy time in the city.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Officials gathered outside Albany City Hall on June 1, 2020.

Albany flies pride flags at city hall each June as the LGBTQ community kicks off Pride Month, designed to raise the community’s visibility, and acknowledge the strides that have been made. Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the community has become an important part of the city with respect to civil rights and human rights. She says the pandemic will not crimp the celebration.

"Pride brings us more pride because it's an opportunity for us to celebrate. It's an opportunity for us to say thank you. And while this will be a pride month like none other. I am confident that the community will come together and we'll celebrate pride and will ensure that we continue this tradition moving forward."

Tandra LaGrone is Executive Director of In Our Own Voices, an LGBT advocacy group.

"We have made the decision this year to postpone black and Latino gay pride until 2021. We felt that it was the right decision to do amongst this pandemic. We all know as we stand here that black and brown people have disproportionately faced and have experienced death through COVID-19. We all know what's going on in today's society with our black and brown people, and so we would be remiss if we didn't stand here and take knowledge of what's happening in our community. The city of Albany has been supportive of the LGBT community here in the Capital Region for years."

City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar says change comes when people rise up and make their voices heard.

 "That's what happened starting with Stonewall over 50 years ago. That's led to the tremendous progress that we've had on gay rights and gay liberation of these past several decades. We're not there yet obviously, but we've come a long way. That's also going on our streets today, all across the country, where people are rising up to make their voices heard. Because racism and everything that goes along with it has gone on for far too long and it's time that we all put a stop to it."

Citing the pandemic, the Pride Center of the Capital Region and the city of Albany are looking into viable dates later this year to hold the 50th Anniversary Capital Pride Parade and Festival.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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