June 8, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 23
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Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020



Religious Coalition for Equality seeks Executive Director
First pride celebration in Centralia a success - Rally, booths, and march among festivities
First pride celebration in Centralia a success - Rally, booths, and march among festivities
by Lisa Wardle - SGN Staff Writer

History of the Pride day sort was made in Lewis County on June 5th when the region's first Gay Pride rally and parade arose from the passion of activists. It was organized by a group of college students in the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at Centralia College and featured speakers, food, and informational booths. Organizers told SGN about 20 people participated. The afternoon was a success.

"Centralia Pride was just that: pride! Intimate, grassroots and true to the nature of the event. People of all kinds were able to come together publicly and realize that there is a community, that they aren't isolated," participant Brandon Berlin told the Seattle Gay News about the parade and rally.

After growing up in Lewis County, Berlin had moved to Seattle, living there for ten years. Recently, he returned to the Centralia area in order to help family and, also, took the risk of returning to a prejudiced society where he had known "former classmates who have killed themselves because they couldn't be openly homo, or contracted HIV/AIDS and their families disowned them." Brandon has seen the bravery that the Centralia GSA members have, and is proud to have seen the organizers grow into the vocal and visible activists that they are now.

"The kids who started the college GSA here are friends of mine. With the encouragement and support from others here and me, they finally got their group off the ground," Cindy Hadden remarked after Tuesday's events. "The plan now is that several of us are trying to get into the local high schools to help them form a GSA."

Being that the pride event was one of the group's very first public activities, Hadden said that they should be proud of their accomplishment. Seeing the progress that had occurred, new ideas and hopes were already brewing in her mind for the future of Centralia. Cindy is currently working on making the First United Methodist Church an "open and affirming" congregation with the help of other Soulforce members in the area who work for the religious and political freedom of LGBT people.

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