By Stacie Pearman.
Pictured from left: Patty Hampton, Nancy Anderson and Stefan Varner at Pride in the Park, June 1.
Smiles. Mom hugs. Music. Information. Community.
All were on display at the 2019 Pride in the Park outdoor festival at Valor Park at Market Commons Saturday, June 1, helping to mark the kickoff of Pride Month.
Sponsored by Grand Strand Pride and the Coastal Business Guild, Pride in the Park provided an opportunity for many businesses and organizations to share information, show support and connect with the LGBTQ community.
Many volunteers and members of the Horry County Democratic Party (HCDP) participated, signing up volunteers and registering voters, and HCDP Chair Don Kohn expressed his concern about solidifying the rights for all people in Horry County and in the State of South Carolina.
“We will work hand In hand with the LGBTQ community to insure the rights that all people deserve. ALL people,” he said.
Thus, HCDP volunteers registered voters, shared information on how voters can check their registration details and provided information for community members to get involved with one (or a few!) of the various committees within the Horry County Democratic Party.
Overall, HCDP members attended Pride in the Park to demonstrate support for equality for all people and to express their concern about policies of the current administration that discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.
“As a veteran, I am disappointed at our government’s response to the treatment of transgender military personnel,” said HCDP Executive Committee member Patty Hampton, of Myfrtle Beach. “Also, the way our president is making an embarrassment of himself as commander in chief of the memory of John McCain.”
Commented Cathy Tourloukis, a member of HCDP’s Communications Committee, “I am here to have a nice meal enjoy some good music have fun! As well as support family friends and all the LGBT community, women, immigrants, everyone who feels less than today. Here to support everyone. Everyone deserves civil rights equal rights freedom in the USA. Our country needs to go forward not backwards.”
Taking center stage at the event was the Democratic LGBT Committee of Myrtle Beach.
“Grand Strand Pride and the Coastal Business Guild have done a marvelous job over the years of visibility and of uniting the LGBT community in the area,” said Stefan Varner, the committee’s chair. “It is time now to take the next steps in engaging LGBT citizens with the political party that stands for their rights – The Democratic Party – and with their elected representatives and candidates, so that we can continue to move the legislative needle forward.”
Varner explained that “The Democratic LGBT Committee of Myrtle Beach works to educate LGBT citizens in communicating with and in motivating party officials and elected representatives to work in our best interests. There is something impactful that any and every concerned individual can do to help regardless of one’s available time, age or personal abilities. The most important aspect to success is Persistence.”
Grand Strand Action Together attended the event to advocate for the protection of voting rights, offering a petition to end political gerrymandering and to continue to advocate for common sense gun laws.
Mary Jeffcoat, candidate for Myrtle Beach City Council attended and said she felt that things are starting to improve in Myrtle Beach regarding inclusion and acceptance. “Change will happen in Horry County; it will be slow and it will be hard fought, but it will happen here,” Jeffcoat proclaimed.
Also present were representatives from Shepherd of the Sea Lutheran Church and St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. Having a religious presence at Pride was a wonderful example of how change is happening, and love is winning.
Pride in the Park attracted a big crowd of enthusiastic supporters who enjoyed a beautiful day in the sun. Plans are already underway for next year’s event.
The road ahead is so uncertain for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters; let’s spend the year supporting equal rights candidates, inclusion and, in solidarity, keep the momentum going!
For a photo album from Pride in the Park, please click here.