Nadine Rodriguez/Nadine Rodriguez
Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive was the place to be for Florida LGBTQA community members and supporters this last weekend with the 8th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade. Florida International University was sure to show their support, proudly being the largest group to walk the actual parade.
Before FIU students, alumni and guests actually formed together to walk, they all met at the Wolfsonian FIU Museum on Washington Ave. Other than a filling breakfast, there were speeches by the Associate Director of FIU’s Multicultural Programs and Services, Gisela P. Vega, alumni, and individuals who have worked very hard for the LGBTQA community. One individual in particular spoke about gay rights, more specifically the right to marriage. He stated although how the community should celebrate how wonderful it is to be gay, our rights are basic human rights and should not have to be fought for to the teeth to acquire, we are born with them.
Greeting some of the participants and speaking with them at Ocean Drive was President Mark B. Rosenberg and Congresswoman Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen.
Around 12:20 pm the actual parade initiated. It was clear minutes into walking that FIU had some of the greatest energy, earning the attention of parade-watchers and cameras. Even Tiffany Fantasia, the official host of the parade, pointed out FIU as they walked by her platform. After the parade, some FIU students and faculty could be found at a tent set up near the stages on the beach. The tent was run by energetic volunteers who’s goals were to educate individuals who passed by the tent, while giving away goodies such as t-shirts, pins, pompoms, water and snacks.
Overall, the weekend was oversaturated with positivity and acceptance. It was humbling to see prominent members of the community, such as BB&T Bank, Miami Beach Community Church, Miami Herald, various schools, and Equality Florida take a stand and walk down the parade showing their support. Other than the organizations who showed their support, a mix of youthful LGBTQA individuals and elders, such as the Legacy Couples whom have been together for 10 years or more, truly made the atmosphere feel unifying.
Once it was time to start heading over to Ocean Drive, participants were dressed in their designated colors of the LGBTQA.