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First Person: A moment of pride at the North Shore parade

The author at the 2018 North Shore Pride Parade.

JULY 5, 2018 – What is the definition of PRIDE? There are several meanings but the one I like best is consciousness of one’s own dignity. What is “DIGNITY?” It can be described as the quality or state of being worthy or honored.

On June 23, I had the pleasure of marching in the North Shore Pride Parade in Salem with Temple B’nai Abraham of Beverly along with our rabbi, Alison Adler, her family, and several other synagogue members together with many wonderful people and organizations who strive to promote unity and equality within our community.

We marched and sang songs of joy and chanted messages like “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” The feeling of togetherness was extremely powerful. There was a tremendous turnout in spite of the weather forecast and people lining the parade route were making their stand for acceptance just by being there. This was a welcome change from the blatant disunion we are seeing in our country lately.
As we made our way to Salem Commons, passing through the archway of rainbow-colored balloons, I couldn’t help but notice one man trying to “rain on the parade.” Standing on a chair, with a bible clenched in his hand, he was using a loudspeaker to spew his venomous words about sin, saying that we were all going to hell. I guess he forgot to read the part of the Bible that teaches us to treat others as we wish to be treated and above all, to be kind.

I was angry and wanted to confront him. But then I witnessed something beautiful. First, a group of young people dressed in bright colors started chanting “Love is love!” The man on the chair could no longer be heard. Then, one of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” (an organization that uses religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance) stood directly in front of him, and silently spread her glorious purple wings and was soon joined by her other sisters, creating a vision of lovely purple butterflies breaking free from their cocoons.

At last, the man on the chair could neither be heard nor seen. I will never forget that moment.

Walking through the damp grass, scattered with glitter and boa feathers, I was thrilled to be a small part of a giant celebration of humanity, attended by people of all ages and of varying ethnicities and religious backgrounds. I was especially moved by all of the young people who on this day could dress the way they wanted, hold hands with whomever they wanted, and be their true selves.

Today’s world is complicated. It is always changing, in good and bad ways. Right now, I am feeling hopeful. We are all human beings who deserve to love and be loved, to be proud, walk with dignity, and always be our true selves.

– By Lauren Goldman

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