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Springfield set to host its first Pride parade on Saturday

The first Pride parade in Springfield, Massachusetts, is one of the only events like it happening in a major city in the Bay State this year.

The parade is planned for a 10 a.m. start on Saturday, June 4, at Springfield Technical Community College, and is set to end at City Hall.

"I feel excited. I feel nervous. I'm a little bit of everything," said Taurean Bethea, who's been organizing the parade for almost two years now.

Bethea said he hopes to inspire LGBTQ youth to be proud.

"Our goal is to get the kids to own this," he said. "You know, this is theirs. I just can't wait to see their their reaction to just this amazing parade, and just seeing the city come out and support them."

Organizers are working with MGM Springfield to throw a block party at Court Square after the parade.

Pittsfield is also hosting a Pride parade on the same day.

But Northampton and Boston are not moving forward with their parades this year.

“We hope that our neighboring cities can participate in our celebration on Saturday," Bethea said. "This parade and block party is for the LGBTQIA+ community, regardless of where you live."

Bethea's work will continue well after the parade on Saturday. He said the Springfield Pride Parade Organization will host a youth program at Springfield College for sixth through 12th graders.

"We want to teach youth that aren't of the LGBTQ community how to be solid allies, how to support one another, how to communicate with different orientations, genders, identities, and develop effective relationships," Bethea said.

The program starts July 11 and ends August 19.

Copyright 2022 New England Public Media. To see more, visit New England Public Media.

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