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'This Year Is Different': Dallas Pride Rally Focuses On Black Lives Matter

Dressed in rainbow attire, hundreds of protesters gathered at Oak Lawn Park in Dallas for a Pride for Black Lives Matters rally. 

They held up signs that read “Black Trans Lives Matter” and “No pride for any of us without liberation for all of us.” 

This year’s event centered around unity and equality — a message that took on a new meaning after the death of George Floyd. Protesters repeated chants calling for an end to police violence and systemic racism.

“Whether you are calling truth to power or calling out your aunt, or calling out your tia or your tio, we need you to stand up and speak loudly and proudly and say it: Black Lives Matter,” said Brandon J. Vance, a guest speaker and president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

At the event, Vance gave away free t-shirts with Black Lives Matter in rainbow colors. Vance is a longtime LGBTQ advocate of the Dallas community.

Alayna Pannell, a white 28-year-old Dallas resident, came out to the event early. She was accompanied by her boyfriend Paul Ren, 30, who drove from Austin to show support for her polyamorous pan-sexuality. 

Pannell had a light jean jacket on with a rainbow flag on the back. She embraced her boyfriend in a hug.

At first when I was younger, I didn’t really understand what privilege was,” said Pannell. “As I got older, I realized how to use that privilege for what really matters.” 

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Alejandra Martinez
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KERA

Pannell comes from a mixed family. Some of her siblings are Black and were adopted into the family at a young age. She was out supporting the cause because of them.

At another area near some tents, Alexia Fisher, a 23-year-old Dallas resident, was holding a colorful skateboard that had the letters B-L-M, which stands for Black Lives Matter, written in paint. Fisher said she's been going to Pride celebrations for years. 

“I think this year is different in education,” Fisher said. 

As a Black bisexual woman, Fisher appreciates that this Pride celebration is focused on the Black community and expanding on conversations like what it means to be a bisexual Black woman in today's society. 

“Everyone is growing a lot in knowing things and being more emotionally intelligent towards other people,” she said. “I think if we keep this up, we will have better Prides and we won’t need protests hopefully in the future.”

After more than an hour of marching around the streets of the park, Pannell and Ren left the protest and walked back to their car holding hands, sweaty from the long walk on the humid day.

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report for America corps member and writes about the economic impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities for KERA News. Email her at amartinez@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @_martinez_ale.

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