“This pride has been so freeing for me and it has been really enjoyable to be exactly who I am and not be judged for it,” says Lizy Macari, Augusta Pride Participant.
Although they’ve made great strides over the past 10 years, LGBTQ community members say this allows them to take even bigger steps in helping others be their true selves in their own city.
This year’s pride weekend has brought in over 15 thousand people to celebrate love and freedom. Also an estimated 1.3 million dollars to Augusta.
“Not many people thought that the Augusta Pride Festival in its first year would be successful, but we had over 3.000 people show up, and I was one of them,” says James Mintz, President of the Augusta Pride.
Pride participants tell us the city’s support means the world to them.
“To know that there’s so many people that at least support being out and proud and being who you are. Even if you’re not gay and you’re here saying hey, you’re awesome, i love you, it means so much. It’s great!,” says Connor Hall, Augusta Pride Participant.
For many people, this festival holds a deeper purpose by raising awareness, educating through vendors, and showing others they are not alone.
“When you see a whole bunch of faces in the community that look like you then its important to say oh I can actually be a part of this community or I’m already a part of this community and hopefully enjoy oneself and feel welcomed,” says James Mintz.
Also remembering why they wear rainbows and celebrate.
“I’m having fun right now, but I got to remember where it started…it was a riot. It started out as people fighting for their rights. I don’t know that’s what pride means to me..fighting for your rights and fighting to be yourself proudly,” says Connor Hall.
Its been years of growth, but people tell us Augusta can rally together outside of June.
“Just having more events like this. Even if it’s not on Pride Month,” says Lizzy Macari.