June 1, 2022 By Alexandra Adelina Nita
The 30th annual Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival will be taking place in Jackson Heights Sunday and tens of thousands of people are expected to attend.
The event is scheduled for June 5 after a two-year hiatus, and is being organized under new leadership.
David Kilmnick, the president of the LGBT Network, which is organizing this year’s event, anticipates that more people will attend this year than ever before. The parade/festival is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ celebrations in New York City.
The parade will begin at noon and make its way down 37th Avenue, starting at 89th Street and finishing at the intersection of 37th Avenue and 75th Street. The festival will be held where 37th Road meets 75th Street and go from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The parade will feature three grand marshals: city council speaker Adrienne E. Adams, and the nonprofits Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo and the Caribbean Equality Project.
The festival will feature singers, comedians, drag acts, and dance groups, as well as vendors, food options, and community and social booths.
The parade was founded by former Jackson Heights Council Member Daniel Dromm in 1993 to bring visibility to the LGBTQ community. The event was prompted by the death of Julio Rivera, a 29-year-old gay man who was killed in Jackson Heights as a result of a hate crime in 1990.
The parade will pass by the corner of 37th Avenue and 78th Street, which is named “Julio Rivera Corner.”
“Queens Pride was started because of a brutal murder of Julio Rivera and the intense homophobia in our schools over teaching students about LGBT people,” Kilmnick said. “While we have made many gains in the last 3 decades, Pride remains one of the single most important events our community has every year.”
Dromm is still involved in the event. The LGBT Network created a new Community Advisory Council, which Dromm chairs. He will also join the grand marshals when the event begins.
“The Queens Pride Parade and Festival is integral to all other LGBTQ+ organizing in the borough. It must continue,” Dromm said. “As Queens Pride’s founder, I am proud to work with the LGBT Network and David Kilmnick to bring back Pride bigger and better than ever before.”
Adams said she was proud to be named a grand marshal.
“I am deeply honored to serve as grand marshal for the 30th anniversary celebration of Queens Pride,” Adams said. “Our beautiful and diverse LGBT community deserves to be supported, uplifted and celebrated.”
Colectivo was selected as a grand marshall for its work in improving the lives of the LGBTQ community. The organization, which was founded by the late Jackson Heights transgender and immigrant rights activist Lorena Borjas, provides legal counseling, free food and clothing, and education. It also aims to help marginalized members of the New York transgender community, including sex workers and those living with HIV.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean Equality Project is being recognized for its work serving the Caribbean LGBT community in New York City. The group was founded by Mohamed Q. Amin in 2015 in response to a bias attack of an activist in Richmond Hill.
The organization is currently fundraising for its 2022 COVID-19 Mutual Aid Relief Fund.
“I am honored to be a part of this new era of Queens Pride’s history- one that centers on racial justice, equity, and trans inclusivity,” said Amin, who is also a member of its Community Advisory Council. “As we continue to navigate the evolving challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must keep creating spaces to celebrate our victories, tell our stories of embodied resilience, and honor those we’ve lost to pandemics after pandemics.”