Fairfax Board Honors Pride Month Organizers Amid Calls For Inclusivity

FAIRFAX, VA — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors recognized and thanked on Tuesday the many companies, organizations, and individuals who contributed to the celebration of Pride Month across the county in June.

“I wanted to recognize these organizations for a couple of reasons,” said Board Chair Jeff McKay, who introduced the proposal with Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross. “One, clearly, to make sure that the larger Fairfax County community knows how important this board feels inclusivity is and without condition that all people in this county are welcome, and all people in this county will be protected in order to be able to thrive.”

McKay’s second reason was to acknowledge that despite the conversation happening in the community that is “outside of the values of Fairfax County,” more organizations are coming forward to celebrate Pride Month and inclusivity as the right thing to do.

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“When I think about our young people in particular and what they see and hear in the news, what they see and hear from elected leaders, I want them to know and see and hear what we’re saying in Fairfax County,” he said. “Not just from this dais and this board, but also from all the people from one end of this county to the other who put together amazing events for the month of Pride and as a reminder for them, that we stand in solidarity with them.”

The proclamation recognized the organizers of Fairfax County Pride Month recognitions and celebrations, including but not limited to:

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Bri Morgan of Reston Pride accepted the board’s proclamation on behalf of all the organizations that held events during Pride Month in June.

“We’ve continued to grow through the years and mostly due to not just the environment of inclusivity but the support of all of our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and Fairfax County in and of itself,” she said. “Our goal is not just to have an amazing Pride Festival, but to also support the LGBTQ community.”

In spite of the outpouring of support during Pride Month and at the board meeting on Tuesday, Morgan noted that it doesn’t take much to “set off the hate.”

“While this county is very inclusive, and I feel very privileged to be a part of it, we still have work to do,” she said. “I still hear from, especially the youth of this community, of the bullying, vandalism on their properties, and so forth. So, while we feel that we may have a great, great county, there’s still work to do, and, of course, the outlying regions of Virginia still have more work to do.”

This year, the Reston Pride Festival on June 3 raised $6,000 for the Pride Liberation Project, a nonprofit organization started by LGBTQ+ students in Fairfax County high schools.

“It creates clubs and safe places for high school students, but is also a training ground to teach them how to become political activists and lobbyists, thus setting the stage for the future generations to protect our rights,” Morgan said.

Fairfax City Mayor Catherine Read also spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting and talked about the city’s first ever Pride Event, which took place on June 3 in Old Town Hall.

“It was a little rocky,” she said. “Not everyone embraces something new. But it’s important to make a commitment to the many people who live in the City of Fairfax, including our children. We had an event that included children, that was family friendly, that acknowledged children in the LGBTQIA+ community to let them know that they are valued, they are celebrated and we will keep them safe.”

Dranseville District Supervisor John Foust pointed out that 2023 was the 11th year that the board had declared June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Fairfax County.

Having grown up in Fairfax County, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik told her fellow board members that she could feel the difference in how things have changed.

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“Though it feels like not that far away, some are still surprised that just a few decades ago, we weren’t just not celebrating but not ensuring the same protection and support for everyone in our community, especially our LGBTQ+ community,” she said. “I appreciate that we’re celebrating this for the first time everyone who’s been doing this work in the community”

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