Featured photo: Taya Lindsey, left, and Jatean Starcher carry homemade signs at the Pride March To Remember in downtown Greensboro N.C., on June 28, 2022. (photo by Juliet Coen)

A few small clouds dotted the otherwise clear-blue sky. The summer heat barreled down on the day, but the International Civil Right Museum gave shade to the massive crowd forming on its front steps. Many wore colorful attire with flags in an array of colors.

Marchers wave at passing cars at the Pride March To Remember outside of The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro N.C., on June 28, 2022.

The mood among the crowd was jovial, but a sense of determination and resolve could be felt beneath the smiles as recent events made this crowd ready for future battles. One woman held a sign that read “Never Going Back” with a bloody hanger underneath.

On Tuesday evening, dozens of people gathered in downtown Greensboro to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots when the most downtrodden members of the LGBTQ+ community fought back against police brutality over the course of a week in New York City. In the present, the crowd worried they would be plunged back in time. Just days before, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion case Roe v Wade, and the court signaled they were far from done. LGBTQ+ rights are another likely target. This includes undoing marriage equality and overturning Lawrence v Texas, which decriminalized same-sex relations in all remaining states, including North Carolina.

Congressperson Kathy Manning, a Democrat who represents the District 6, joined the rally which started at the Civil Rights Museum.

Even without the Supreme Court, the crowd still has much to fight against. According to a report by NBC News, as of March, there have been nearly 240 anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed this year. Many of these bills target transgender people specifically.

“Tonight, I’ll be speaking not only as a lesbian, but as a gay parent and a gay parent of five children and one being gay as well, so my role today is to get the message out to parents and families to accept their LGBTQ+ youth and also to have the youth carry on the fight for us,” said Carin Obad, leader of the Greensboro Lesbian Social Club.

Emma Bartelson-Cortinas waves rainbow flags as she sits on the shoulders of her mother Dee Dee Cortinas at the Pride March To Remember in downtown Greensboro N.C., on June 28, 2022.

A procession of bright shirts, banners, signs and a profusion of Pride flags of all different varieties turned the streets into a flowing river of colors. Cheers and chants could be heard from one end of downtown to the other. Once the throngs made their way to the Governmental Plaza, speeches were made by three speakers including Rosalind Porter, a local transgender woman and drag performer.

“This event means to me that I get another opportunity to lend my voice up high to help others, to bring the community together and, also to tell my story and be a beacon of hope and a guide of some sort to help people find their way,” Porter said.

Towards the end of the event, attendees lit dozens of candles and sat in somber, dignified silence to remember those of the community who have been lost to hate and violence. The space glimmered with hundreds of twinkling lights as if they were stars in the night sky. The crowd then dispersed, ready to keep fighting the fight until they all meet again.

Organizers of the event with Greensboro Pride donated $1 per attendee up to $500 to the Trevor Project, an organization that provides support for LGBTQ+ youth.

Photos by Juliet Coen

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