Cleveland Pride promotes social justice

Thousands marched through downtown Cleveland June 3 to celebrate “Pride in the CLE,” organized by the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

Cleveland Pride, June 3, 2023. (Credit: Martha Grevatt)

The call to action read: “Pride in the CLE® March adheres to the grassroots ideals of early Pride celebrations that sprung forth following the Stonewall Inn uprisings in 1969. With this in mind we aim to lift up the voices of our community and advocate for social justice by way of a march through our beloved city streets. We also commemorate the thousands who have marched over the last half century demanding the fair and equal treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.”

This is a progressive appeal, considering the increased corporatization of LGBTQIA2S+ Pride events over the decades since Stonewall. Among the social justice issues addressed were the attacks on trans youth by state legislatures around the country, including in Ohio. 

Many marchers carried pro-choice abortion access signs that called on marchers to vote against Issue 1, on the Ohio ballot in an Aug. 8 special election. If passed, Issue 1 would require a 60% supermajority to pass any ballot initiative to amend the state constitution — meaning it would be harder in November to pass an amendment enshrining the right to abortion access.

Unlike the Stonewall Rebellion commemorated throughout June, however, Pride in the CLE had dozens of corporate sponsors and contingents in the march. The list of notorious exploiters who endorsed the event included Amazon, McDonald’s, Target, Sherwin Williams and First Energy.

Many Greater Clevelanders marched with the companies they work for, but the largest contingent was of at least 1,000 unaffiliated individuals. This was the most youthful and multinational section of the march.

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