EUGENE, Ore. --- Eugene Pride and activist group 'Black Unity' hosted an event together to honor Black transgender lives and to bring awareness to the realities that exist within the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities.
This year would have marked the 29th annual Pride in the Park Festival which is typically held at Alton Baker Park. That event was cancelled this year, due to the pandemic.
Still, hundreds met at the federal courthouse for the March for Black Trans Lives Saturday afternoon.
Speeches were made by Councilor Greg Evans, Senator James Manning Jr. and other local leaders.
The group then marched to Kiwanis Park, which is at the west end of Skinner Butte Park where more activities took place.
Eugene residents Patty Hine and Debby McGee are married and participated in the event together.
“In 2014 I was able to legally marry my partner of 26 years,” McGee said. “So I'm out here because I have been personally affected by marriage equality and by gaining legal rights. I went through my entire career in public education afraid of being found out as a gay person.”
Hine said that it is important that people speak up for those whose voices are not being heard.
“During the Black Lives Matter movement, we were seeing so many Black trans women targeted,” Hine said. I think it’s really important we stand up right now in the social movement in the big change we are undergoing and get done healing from this awful thing of racism and transphobia.”
McGee said humans are either motivated by love or fear so coming together should be a priority.
“It's a scary time,” McGee said. “The more love there is and the more we can pull together we’re all in this world together. To show love and compassion and support for each other around Black Lives Matter, around COVID-19 and all issues."
Libra Forde was a speaker at Saturday’s event.
“It’s important that we keep this push,” Forde said. “We can't let go of the gas. We have to keep pushing forward. Solidarity doesn't just happen when we say it. We have to continue to do things to show it.”
Forde shared what power can come from conversations that take place inside a home.
“I believe that every table is important,” Forde said. “The kitchen table is where it starts. If you saw something today that made you think bring it up at the table. Let's build some new futures.”
Eugene resident Valerie Jakabosky also took part in Saturday's march.
“There wasn't Pride this year, and I am both gay and trans,” Jakabosky said. “Being here with a bunch of queer people is awesome. I want to do things like this all throughout my life.”
Jakabosky said everyone deserves to have a place in this world.
“Black lives matter,” Jakabosky said. “Trans lives matter. I want people to know that this is not the last protest. This is not the first. Get out here. More bodies are better.”
Jeff Pinney along with many others shared to KEZI 9 News that this event was too important to miss.
“We normally do Pride through our festival here in town around this time of the year,” Pinney said. “I haven't been out. I’ve been reclusive at home with my dogs. I just decided to come out and be supportive and risk a little bit because i'm covering two with one stone. It's really important that we show up.”