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De Blasio makes history as Grand Marshal of Brooklyn’s Pride Parade

June 17, 2014 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bill de Blasio made history at the Pride Parade
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Mayor de Blasio made history over the weekend when he led Brooklyn’s Twilight Pride Parade as one of the four grand marshals, making him the first New York City mayor to lead an LGBT pride event.

“This was a huge year for us,” said Mickey Heller, organizer of the Twilight Pride Parade. “Not only has the parade grown larger in size, but for the first time ever having the mayor leading a pride parade as grand marshal. It’s wonderful to have his support. Bill is from Brooklyn — this is his home and it’s great to see that he supports us.”

De Blasio was not the only local politician at the event. Also serving as grand marshals were Public Advocate Letitia James, Borough President Eric Adams and City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who is the first openly-gay New York City council member from Brooklyn.

“It’s really amazing to see that not only de Blasio but so many of our local politicians support Brooklyn — its queer culture and its diversity,” said Lady Clover Honey, who marched in the parade. “Not everyone is lucky to have politicians like this that come out and show their love and that’s what this parade is about — love and pride in our community.”

The Twilight Pride Parade marked the end of a weeklong series of events that was part of the Brooklyn Pride Festival. It’s the 18th year that these events have taken place. Earlier in the week, festivities included a 5K run, a street fair and others. The parade is the biggest event that capped off the week.

“Having this parade at the end of the week and at night makes it different than most other Pride Parades,” Lady Clover Honey said. “Everything during the week leads up to this and having it at night gives it more of a party atmosphere, sort of a Caribbean feel. It’s so much fun.”

There were an estimated 50,000 people in the streets of Park Slope to watch the parade. In addition to the grand marshals, others marching in the parade include: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; Comptroller Scott Stringer; Councilmembers Brad Lander, Laurie Cumbo and Jumaane Williams; Democratic Party Chairman Hon. Frank Seddio; State Senator Daniel Squadron and others.

Local judges Hon. Bernard J. Graham and Hon. Wayne P. Saitta were also spotted in the crowd.

“Things have evolved over 18 years, and it has transformed into a huge parade — but, somehow, we’ve managed to maintain its intimacy,” Heller said. “It’s only about 15 blocks and an hour and a half long so people that come out to watch it can still connect with us and feel like they are a part of it.”

Many different cultural and student groups were involved. Out of the Closet Thrift Store had a pink float, New York City Gay Basketball League marched, LGBTA at Brooklyn College marched, Pratt, Ali Forney Center, the Episcopal Churches of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Scouts and many other groups.

Blasio commented on the event being inclusive afterward and said he wouldn’t take part in other parades that exclude members of the LGBT community.

“When it comes to the question of parades, you will see Chirlane at this parade or me at this parade, but you will not see us at a parade that excludes members of the LGBT community,” de Blasio said, referring to his wife Chirlane McCray. “That is not what we do in New York City.”

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