Santa Cruz Pride Parade draws large crowd and takes political tone

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - More than 50 groups marched down Pacific Avenue, sending the message of power, strength and love for one another in the 43rd annual Santa Cruz Pride Parade.

"We need to stand up for our rights and stand up for who we are as a group and as a community,” said Thomas Pistole of Aptos. “We all really need to get along better."

Thousands of spectators also filled downtown to celebrate and show their support for the LGBTQIA community.

"I think people feel more motivated to get out and say this is who we really are as a country, not what you're thinking we are,” said Temple Beth El Rabbi Paula Marcus. “Or what it seems to be coming down on high in the white house."

This year’s theme is We Are Indivisible.

"This is a direct response to the current administration’s desire to try to erase us,” said Dina Izzo, Santa Cruze Pride Parade Coordinator. “To try to put us back into the closet, to try to quiet us."

Santa Cruz Pride officials said since President Trump got elected, hate crimes and discrimination towards the LGBTQIA community has gone up significantly, and that there is movement in the White House to take away some of the rights they've worked hard to gain. 

"They tried to take us out of the count of the census,” said Izzo. “Horrible bills are being passed to rescind rights for our transgender community, the bathroom bills that are being put into law. These are all steps that lead to things like denying people adoption rights. The notion of trying to take away our right to marry once again.

President Trump has said same sex marriage is settled and that he is fine with the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize it.

"Anyone who doesn't feel safe, we have to be there for them," said Gail Levine of Santa Cruz.

The event concluded with a festival featuring live entertainment, food trucks and vendors. 

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