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30th Roanoke Pride Festival brings out the crowds downtown

Published: May. 1, 2022 at 5:51 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Weather didn’t stop the crowds from coming out Sunday afternoon for the wrap-up of the 30th annual Roanoke Pride Festival.

“There’s always one kid that comes here because it’s their first pride and it’s the only place that they can be themselves,” said Justin Utley, a singer and activist who has performed at the annual Roanoke Pride Festival for almost a decade.

Roanoke Valley leaders, like Councilman Joe Cobb and Del. Sam Rasoul, along with organizations like Carilion Clinic, were also there, showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“That’s what sets this pride apart from many others, is because we’re out here claiming our ground and making a safe space for these kids,” said Utley.

“To be able to celebrate the inclusive beauty and the rich diversity of our city in this way, it just means everything,” said Cobb.

Cobb, who is openly gay, also presented a proclamation for the 30th Roanoke Pride Festival on behalf of City Council.

“We wanted to tap into the history of the LGBTQ community and some of the things we’re continuing to work on.”

It was a weekend enjoyed by hundreds, but Cobb and activists alike, said there is still work to be done for the future, especially in the transgender community.

”To see past that, and get some understanding, and get to know somebody in that community is going to make a huge world of difference as we move forward in our progress,” said Utley.

”We need to stay alert, we need to stay attentive and we really need to bond together to make sure that not only Roanoke continues to be an inclusive environment city, but Virginia as well,” said Cobb.

For more information on Roanoke Pride, you can find its website here.

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