Diversity, equality celebrated at Bluffs' Heartland Pride parade - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm / Updated at 5:51 pm
Diversity, equality celebrated at Bluffs' Heartland Pride parade

COUNCIL BLUFFS — Lacey Sayers and Andrea Caniglia-Sayers brought their 1-year-old son, Milo, to the Heartland Pride “Live Proud” parade Saturday because they wanted to expose him to a diversity that’s gaining more acceptance in the state, region and nation.

“We’re all races, all ages, all genders, all types of people,” Lacey said about the parade, which celebrated gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender awareness and acceptance. “This parade is about coming together as a community to celebrate and be visible. We still don’t have totally equal rights, it’s important to show our faces.”

About 30 organizations participated in the parade, with a number of businesses and churches showing their support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The parade was part of Omaha-based Heartland Parade’s annual celebration, with “Live Proud” as this year’s theme. Much of the celebration was based at Stinson Park at Aksarben Village in Omaha, but because of the College World Series — and the police manpower required for it— organizers moved the parade to Council Bluffs.

A crowd of attendees lined Pearl Street from the fountain near West Broadway to City Hall, with sparser groupings farther down to Ninth Avenue.

Rainbow flags, body paint and stickers were the norm, along with stickers that said “Created Equal” and others that simply had the mathematical equal sign, which has become a symbol of the GLBT movement. The crowd cheered and hollered throughout.

Boris Baer, 50, of Council Bluffs heard about the parade and brought his black pug Jacob down to check it out.

“This is great. I’m glad we had it here,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Sisters Jodi and Katie Turner made the trek from Lincoln to participate in the parade.

“This parade shows the spirit of love and encouragement from the community,” Jodi said about the event. “I’m straight and I support marriage equality and love for everyone.”

Heartland Pride formed in 1985 with the purpose of putting on the festival and parade. In the ensuing years it has raised money to offer a number of scholarships and grants to youth in the Council Bluffs-Omaha metro area.

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