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Thousands Endure Smoke, Heat For This Year’s Reno Pride

Over the weekend, the annual Northern Nevada Pride parade and festival was held in downtown Reno. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented many events, such as this one, from happening in person.

A group of bikers kicked off the parade. Despite the excessive heat and wildfire smoke, thousands lined Virginia Street and went to Wingfield Park to watch the parade and attend the festival. The event included food trucks, vendors and live entertainment.

Last year, organizers held a virtual event in order to let people connect while also staying safe. YeVonne Allen with Northern Nevada Pride said holding an event in person this year was so important.

“That’s why the theme this year is OUTside, OUTloud, OUT&proud,” said Allen. “We need to be outside where we can be safe; we need to be outside where we can be out and be ourselves.”

For Allen, being able to connect in person was a highlight.

“So my favorite part of pride is walking up to people I don’t know and saying ‘Happy Pride,’ because if you do that, their face lights up, they just feel joy, they get goosebumps,” said Allen.

Along with people coming together, many community groups were there to raise awareness about serious issues such as sexual violence against men.

Nick Stewart is holding a microphone and camera as he interviews Jake Marble. They are standing in the grass with vendor tables lined up in the background.
Credit Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio
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KUNR Public Radio
KUNR Youth Media reporter Nick Stewart interviewed Jake Marble with Speak Up Not Man Up in Wingfield Park in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, July 24.

“My goal today is simply to help other people recognize that, ‘Hey, we need to be more open and aware of this, it’s not something to be ashamed of, or scared of,’ and to support individuals who may feel like they can’t speak up,” said Jake Marble, the founder of Speak Up Not Man Up.

To promote this cause, Marble handed attendees a plate and a marker.

“The plates represent our society we’ve built around [toxic] masculinity,” said Marble. “And so, today, we’re taking those plates, writing those toxic things on them and breaking them because we’re tired of those toxic traits that keep victims and survivors from healing.”

Another group with a table set up was OUR Center. Angeline Peterson is a board member of the organization.

“OUR Center is the only LGBTQ+ center in Northern Nevada,” said Peterson. “We used to have a place called A Rainbow Place, and they have closed down, so there was nowhere for the LGBTQ+ community to go.”

While people now have a place to go, OUR Center is looking to expand.

“So right now, we are 100% volunteer based,” said Peterson. “So we are really looking forward to, hopefully, hiring a staff member by the fall. So that will be really great having someone to wrangle the volunteers and to keep the doors open, which will allow the board and some of the volunteers to create new programming, to do a lot of outreach.”

Along with their plans to expand, Peterson says there are concrete ways to show support.

“We need people to start groups. If there’s a hole in the community that you’re like, ‘I think we need this,’ please feel free to come to the center [and] propose a group to us; we would love to host it,” said Peterson.

A parade attendee is holding a sign that says, “God loves us...just the way we are!”
Credit Nick Stewart / KUNR Youth Media
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KUNR Youth Media
Many churches were part of the Northern Nevada Pride parade in Reno, Nev., to show their support for the LGBTQ community on Saturday, July 24.

Allen with Northern Nevada Pride says not only should members of the LGBTQ+ community be allies to each other, but everyone else has a big role to play as well.

“So if it’s estimated 10% of America identifies as LGBT, right, that means we need that 90% to be vocal and be strong supporters of the community. If it’s not for them, our voices only get so far,” said Allen.

Ultimately, 14,000 people showed up for this year’s pride event.

Nick Stewart is a senior at the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno and an alum of KUNR’s youth media program. KUNR Youth Media is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

Nick Stewart is a student reporter for KUNR. He is a senior in high school and attends the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno. He contributed through the KUNR Youth Media program in the spring of 2021, and he covered the 2021 Northern Nevada Pride parade and festival. After high school, he hopes to obtain a bachelor’s degree in journalism through the Reynolds School of Journalism at UNR.
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