Downey’s 3rd Annual Pride March

Downeys+3rd+Pride+March

Clarissa Arceo

About 20 people marched along Paramount Blvd. with signs, flags and noisemakers in efforts of honoring Pride Month and informing those passing by about the LGBTQ+ history and the community.

Clarissa Arceo, Freelancer

Worldly Love Company and The Downey Pride Alliance hosted a pride march on March 18; which consisted of waved flags, signs and loud chants followed by a finish line event to celebrate Pride Month.

The entirety of the event lasted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and [the march] was led by Alex Contreras and Faith, members and organizers of The Downey Pride Alliance.

Member and organizer for the Downey Pride Alliance, Faith, led the half mile march to Black Cat Studio while chanting and encouraging passers by to join in fostering a community of inclusivity and solidarity in Downey.
Member and organizer for the Downey Pride Alliance, Faith, led the half mile march to Black Cat Studio while chanting and encouraging passers by to join in fostering a community of inclusivity and solidarity in Downey. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

At 9:30 a.m., a group of about 20 people met at the front of Apollo Park and began their half-mile march to Black Cat Studio, 12830 Paramount Blvd., where vendors and activities awaited the guests’ arrival.

Seven vendors selling vegan food and drinks, jewelry, hand-and-custom-made art and candles surrounded the center stage for performers alongside a red carpet.

Participants were invited to sign up for future events hosted by Worldly Love Co. and the Downey Pride Alliance as well as donate money to other small, nonprofit organizations.
Participants were invited to sign up for future events hosted by Worldly Love Co. and the Downey Pride Alliance as well as donate money to other small, nonprofit organizations. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Guests were invited to support small businesses, donate to non-profit organizations by purchasing merchandise, sign up to be involved in future events, partake in arts and crafts, take photos and catch up with friends.

At the corner of Paramount Blvd. and Imperial Hwy., the marching group set up a sign and two baskets of flowers in memory of members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been murdered because of intolerance.

At the corner of Paramount Blvd and Imperial Hwy, a basket of flowers was set in front of a list of names of members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been murdered.
At the corner of Paramount Blvd and Imperial Hwy, a basket of flowers was set in front of a list of names of members of the LGBTQ+ community who have been murdered. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Alex Contreras, housing and transit advocate, has aided in organizing pride marches to take place in Downey for the past three years.

They said they are grateful for the opportunity to have started the annual event and are excited to see the turnout in the coming years.

“Pride is needed in suburban cities like Downey where they pretend that queer people don’t exist,” Contreras said.

Contreras added, “Pride is a protest and a form of radical love. We are putting our bodies on the line- during this march- letting them know that we deserve to exist in peace and live our lives however we see fit.”

Alex Contreras has been involved in making Downey a happy city for three years and expressed her gratitude for the support of her friends and fellow community members to make the Pride March an annual event.
Alex Contreras has been involved in making Downey a happy city for three years and expressed her gratitude for the support of her friends and fellow community members to make the Pride March an annual event. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

At the start of the official event [at the studio], Lolita Torres, owner of Worldly Love Co., thanked the crowd for attending and introduced vendors as well as two performers making their debut.

La Catrina, by Valentin Vega, made her grand debut and performed drag; They said they had never performed outside of their room or school.

The drag performance was followed by rising artist and songwriter Lizzerd Kween who also made their debut and sang live, in person for the first time.

Jocelyne (Jocey) Flores, author and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, said that they are excited to attend Downey’s Pride March every year because the city they live in does not host any pride events.

“My city hosts a 5k stride for pride but does not honor it in the way that pride is needed to be honored,” Flores said.

Flores added, “Pride is about acknowledging. Acknowledging that there are people like you, people going through different and similar things, but [also] knowing that you are loved and allowed to live freely.”

Community members from Downey and surrounding cities joined together on June 18 to march in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community.
Community members from Downey and surrounding cities joined together on June 18 to march in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Worldly Love Company is a small, community-oriented organization that strives to create an environment of hope through various events, charity, assistance (in finance, resources, etc.) and more.

Torres thanked the organization’s supporters and volunteers and said that they wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.

The Downey Pride Alliance strives to foster a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTQ+ community in Downey and surrounding cities. The organizers concluded that they look forward to hosting more events and bonding with the community.