MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The City of Morgantown started the weekend with its first West Virginia Pride Parade which organizers said they have been planning for a few years but was pushed back by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members of Morgantown Pride said that local businesses and organizations from around the area participated in the parade. The parade started on North High Street and went through downtown and then up Spruce Street where floats, trucks and people marched showing their pride for the LGBTQIA community.
“It means a lot that we have a city that supports the queer community as well as supports us having this event. I think this is a great way to show that we do have a lot of folks here in the queer community as well as allies that support us,” said Ash Orr, president of Morgantown Pride. “I think this is truly going to be a great way to show that there is love support, there are resources here, folks are not alone here in Morgantown, I think this is a great message.”
Delegate Danielle Walker was in attendance at the march and said that she is not only an ally but that she is queer and that she lost a son, who was gay, to Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. She said that she is a mother, a public servant and an accomplice to make sure every voice is heard in the LGBTQIA community.
“I am doing this for Demetry Mac Walker and so many others who felt taking their life would be less painful than being their true self and living in love,” Walker said. “I do this for the child or the adult who haven’t spoken to their parents since they’ve said, ‘I’m gay or I’m queer,’ I do this because I don’t mind being a momma to all.”
Walker stated that the state has the highest number of trans youth. She also noted that the state is full of diversity and inclusivity and that she does her part by introducing the Fairness Act, and other legislation, while also loving and supporting every person she can.
“Now standing here as a black queer person we must not forget black trans people who are murdered day in and day out. It is an uncomfortable conversation, but as I started in 2018 One Love, love is love, there is unity in our community and there should be no hate in our hollers, that is why I am here,” Walker said.
On Sunday, Morgantown Pride will be having a free Pride Block Party at the Farmers Market downtown with over forty vendors, food trucks, a kid’s table and live entertainment, as well as drag performances. The weekend will conclude with an 18 and older after party at Vice Versa nightclub.
Correction: An earlier version of this story included the incorrect manner of death for Demetry Walker. The story has been corrected and we apologize for the error.