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Seattle Pride Determined To Make Parade Safe And Welcoming After Orlando Attack

Seattle’s Pride Parade at the end of June is the city’s biggest annual display of support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. When news broke of the shooting in Orlando, organizers say they sprang into action immediately. They wanted to make sure people felt comfortable and encouraged to come to this year’s events.

Alex Bana with Seattle Pride says within hours of the attack in Orlando, the leaders of his organization were already discussing how to make this year’s parade more safe and welcoming. On Sunday, Mayor Ed Murray said enhanced police presence is called for. Bana says that’s now confirmed.

“We are also discussing barricading more of the parade route in order to create spaces that are more easily monitored,” he said, explaining that this is common practice in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, for example.

And Bana says they’re also talking about ways to acknowledge the attack during what is normally one of Seattle’s most colorful and flamboyant events, perhaps with a moment of silence along the route or signs and stickers with a hashtag to commemorate the victims.

“I don’t think that the tone will be the same. It’s going to be too soon. But the upside is it will be more time to think about this,” he said.

Bana says the story won’t just fade away in 72 hours, with all the Pride events scheduled for two weeks from now.   

“And I think that we have to use that as an opportunity to grieve, to remember and to then act,” he said.

Seattle’s Pride Parade takes place on Sunday, June 26.  It typically attracts tens of thousands of participants and spectators.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.
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