On Saturday, the Michigan Pride Festival celebrated its 30th year in Lansing. Upbeat music and rainbow flags were spread out throughout march, which began on Grand Avenue and ended on the steps of the State Capitol building. Those in attendance included drag queens, local politicians, several churches and many families.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, the first openly gay person elected to statewide office, was among many speakers to address the crowd.
Nessel noted Governer Gretchen Whitmer’s adding of the LGBTQ pride flag over the Romney Building, the first time over a state office in Michigan. The building houses the Governor's office and many other state offices for the state of Michigan. Nessel asked the crowd for a shout out, thanking the governor.
“She is undoubtedly the most pro-LGBT ally that we have ever had in the governor’s office,” Nessel said.
Additionally, Nessle spoke about the unfair treatment of LGBTQ people at the federal level, vowing to continue fighting for equal treatment whenever she can.
Nessel, along with many of the other other speakers, spoke of the importance of voting.
The event drew in people of all ages, with speakers like Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, festival coordinator Leigha Faith and several community activists.
Leigha Faith invited all those under the age of 18 to the join her at the steps of the capitol. Dozens of kids stepped up to join her.
Faith gave out hugs and spoke about how it was great to see so many young people in attendance.
Phiwa Langeni spoke the crowd, sharing insight into the experiences as a queer person of color. Langeni is the founder of the Sulus Center, a local LGBTQ resource and community space in Lansing.
“I can never not be Black, you know? I can never not be queer. So trying to fight for both of those really needs to be a unified front,” Langeni said.
“So in queer space or even anti-racist spaces, I feel like it has to be all of those things. All the layers that tend to get ignored when we kind of just celebrate the rainbow portion of pride.”
Several speakers at the event spoke about how the Stonewall Riots in 1969 led by trans women of color. And that fighting within the community needs to stop.
Festivities ended downtown but quickly moved to Old Town Lansing where people celebrated with drinks and musical performances. The celebrations included family-friendly events like face-painting and food booths.