By August Edwards
The streets of Albuquerque were filled Saturday June 8th, 2019 in honor of the Albuquerque Pride Fest. The celebration kicked off with the annual parade that encouraged New Mexicans to embrace both individuality and unity.
Albuquerque’s Mayor Tim Keller spoke at the parade, giving a speech through a megaphone calling for unity among attendees.
“We’re all in this together; no matter where we came from, no matter what kind of lifestyle we choose to live, we are One Albuquerque,” Keller said passionately to an excited crowd.
Keller sported a rainbow lei and his One Albuquerque shirt while shaking hands and sharing a smile with everyone who approached him. Groups and pairs posed for pictures and children wore pride flags as capes. The celebration rang through the streets as bubbles floated through the blue, cloudless sky.
The parade started at the intersection of Central and Tulane with a performance of the National Anthem, followed by Keller cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
As the marching continued, floats adjourned the streets with balloons and streamers. Many onlookers joined marchers blending the two crowds to create a kaleidoscopic celebration.
Every few feet walked provided a new flavor of music, welcoming a variety of people with long hair, shaved heads, and synthetic wigs of all colors that glowed in the sunlight. Despite the diversity of the crowd, the message of unity rang clear throughout the event, as the attendees welcomed new marchers with every step.
The parade welcomed all, whether they were marching or simply watching everyone pass by.
From the sidelines, onlookers pushed closer and closer into the street, melding with the parade. The occasional onlooker often ran up to hug a stranger walking in the parade before they continued down the streets, side by side, seamlessly and naturally.
The parade welcomed adults and children alike with candy being tossed out to children as marchers passed by. With a tightly-packed crowd of over 1,000 attendees, everyone contributed to a welcoming atmosphere sharing stories, smiles, and tears, transferred through hugs and laughter.