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Pride festival raises awareness

If Sean Kennedy was alive today, maybe he would attend the South Georgia Pride festival. But Sean was a victim of a gay hate crime in 2007.

The South Georgia Pride organization will hold its third annual independent South Georgia Pride festival, Saturday at the John W. Saunders Park at 1151 Rivers Street in Valdosta from noon until 6 p.m. South Georgia Pride focuses on issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.

Kennedy’s mother, Elkie Kennedy will speak regarding hate crimes at 5 p.m. Kennedy will also discuss the Sean’s Last Wish Foundation. The foundation was established two weeks after Sean’s death to raise awareness to the fact that South Carolina law enforcement officials, solicitors and judges do not have the tools with which to investigate hate crimes.

For more information on Sean, his mother, and the Sean’s Last Wish Foundation, visit seanslastwish.org.

The festival will also include other entertainment and information geared towards educating and offering a safe environment for the Valdosta area LGBT and their friends. There is no cost to attend the event, but donations are accepted and t-shirts will be for sale.

“We take a stand against bullying and hate crimes and work to educate the community on tolerance for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, race or religion,” said Raynae Williams, Assistant Executive Director of the South Georgia Pride organization.

“Valdosta is a city without limits,” she said and went on to explain that the organization would like a welcoming place for the LGBT community.

Other entertainment opportunities during the event include a pet show at 2 p.m. that offers ribbons and trophies in five different categories: best costume, best trick, best groomed, best owner look-a-like, and most unique. The entry fee for the pet show is a five dollar donation for each event, or all for twenty.

In addition, there will be musicians, and a host of food and crafts available for the community. The Valdosta Venom roller derby team will demonstrate at 3:30 p.m. at the basketball court.

The festival will also include a can food raffle for a chance to win a 30-minute massage. The canned food will be donated to the local food bank on behalf of the South Georgia Pride organization and the LGBT community.

South Georgia Pride welcomes everyone to come and enjoy an open relaxed time filled with food, music, speakers and roller derby.

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One comment

  1. Thank you Daniel and the Spectator for a great article. Our community is wonderfully diverse with people of many races, ethnic groups, religions, cultures and sexual orientations. This diversity should be respected and celebrated for we all are working in our community and in the world for the same things – things that are important to everyone like ending hunger and homelessness, improving education for our children, bringing peace to our world and ending violence of all kinds, providing jobs and a living wage, combating bigotry, prejudice and hatred…the list goes on. So come on out to the Pride Festival on Saturday and support diversity and equality, make some new friends, AND have an awesome time!

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