CLEVELAND — Hundreds of people marched through downtown Cleveland for the 4th annual Pride in the CLE Saturday.
The event celebrates the city’s thriving LGBTQ community.
“There’s so much excitement, a lot of families, people from all ages just coming here to embrace love,” Jacob Holland with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland said.
Members of the LGBTQ community and allies zig-zagged the streets of downtown Cleveland to show their pride in the 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York City.
“Our community has made so much progress, but we celebrate because we want to honor the past and re-energize ourselves for the fight we have ahead of us,” Mallory McMaster, the Pride Director at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, said.
So instead of a traditional parade, they marched in protest.
"We march together to show unity, community, strength and our joy. We think that just us being visible in public and showing the community that LGBTQ people exist here and contribute to the community is a form of resistance and protest in a world where we're so oppressed and silenced and unseen,” McMaster said.
More than 100 groups, local businesses, non-profits and even national organizations joined them in that fight, taking to the streets alongside them.
“It's been fantastic to see Cleveland embrace this community and watch it grow. I know even short of three years ago, this was a small group of about 200 people and you can see behind me all that it is today and all of its glory, so we’re building momentum, we’re showing inclusiveness and we’re really making this a family affair so that people know that there is a community around them,” Holland said.
The pride celebration continues Sunday with the closing ceremony.
There’s also brunch at Luxe Kitchen and Lounge in Gordon Square. Afterwards, members of the public are invited to take a tour of the new LGBT Community Center.