Davis Pride hosted by Davis Phoenix Coalition

Davis Pride hosted by Davis Phoenix Coalition

Photo Credits: JUSTIN HAN / AGGIE

Run/Walk for Equality, Community Fair, Music Festival celebrates Pride

Those participating in the Davis Pride Run/Walk of Equality on Sunday, May 19 ran through morning showers, which cleared up just in time for the Community Fair and Musical Festival. Hosted by the Davis Phoenix Coalition — and free, as in previous years — the fifth annual Davis Pride offered music, community exhibitors and vendors as a space for young and old to connect.

After organizers accommodated for the rain by moving the exhibitor area to the Davis Farmers Market Pavilion instead of Central Park’s grass, Davis Pride celebrations went on, with crowds walking through the pavilion and gathering at the music stages to enjoy live music.

Pride Director Sandré Nelson said that the organizing committee estimated there were about 2,000 attendees — fewer than last year’s estimated 3,500 attendees because of the rain — but they were still happy with attendance. He said that about 300 people participated in the Run/Walk for Equality.

“Despite the rain or the threat of rain or whatever, you can see we’ve had a good turnout today,” Nelson said at the event. “It rained for an hour this morning, and [now] it’s been beautiful […] The sun is out. [Everyone’s] having a good time.”

This year’s Davis Pride — held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m and open to all ages — especially commemorated Pride’s history, as its theme of #StonewallStrong aimed to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This theme served as one reason for the addition of a new “Senior Zone” to the existing kid and teen zones, in hopes of honoring and including generations who have worked toward LGBTQ+ equality over time.

Christina Boyer, a fourth-year cognitive science major at UC Davis and member of the Davis Pride organizing committee, said that these generation zones were successful in bringing people together, and that for her, seeing people of all ages coming out to celebrate was an excellent experience.

“We combined all three [zones] for a little intergenerational dialogue,” Boyer said. “That’s what’s really nice, to see like from kids to seniors celebrating themselves, and it’s been great. They’ve been chitchatting, swapping tales.”

Her friend, Miranda Donning, a third-year cellular biology major at UC Davis, echoed this.

“That was cool!” Donning said of the dialogue. “People of all ages are here.”

Donning heard about the event from Boyer and said she came because it sounded like fun — offering “good food, good vibes.” Donning encouraged UC Davis students who did not attend to check out Davis Pride next year.

“It’s a safe place, and it’s fun and the dancing’s cool,” Donning said. “You can come with an open mind and have a good time […] Everybody should come on down.”

One highlight of the event, according to Donning and her friends, was the music, which took place at two stages. On the Western Health Advantage Community Stage, Davis Phoenix Coalition provided a welcome address, which was followed by performances by Cheer Sacramento, Control Z, Trace Repeat, Wisdom Project Drumming Circle and The Midnight Dip. Davis Live Music Collective arranged several of these community stage performances.

For the Wells Fargo Main Stage, Nico Nieves, Josh Diamond, Cathy Speck, I AM REBEL, Badlands Sacramento Drag Revue, Sacramento Women’s Chorus and Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus performed. Headlining at the main stage was Xavier Toscano.

Daniel Lavolle, a third-year wildlife, fish and conservation biology major at UC Davis, described the music as “top-notch.”

“Honestly, the music here is better than most concerts you go to,” Lavolle said. “I was pretty hyped. It was good.”

Lavolle and Timothy Cater, a fourth-year microbiology major at UC Davis, said they particularly enjoyed The Midnight Dip’s performance in the afternoon, and Cater applauded the Davis Pride organizers for making the event happen. Cater noted that the organizers thought on their feet in handling the rain and said he admired the group’s work as a whole.

“I know Christina [and that] she had been planning it all year, so there’s a lot of work that goes into this,” Cater said.

Boyer said that the work with the Davis Phoenix Coalition has been meaningful for her.

“It’s been a life-changing experience,” Boyer said. “The work [members of the Davis Phoenix Coalition] do for the community is unparalleled. It’s really beautiful to see it all come together.”

Davis Phoenix Coalition’s mission is to eliminate intolerance in the community through ongoing efforts, such as Yolo Rainbow Families, The Gatherings Initiative, Davis LGBTQ+ Youth Group, Davis Pride and the Upstander Carnival. Proceeds from the Run/Walk for Equality benefit these efforts, as well as the coalition’s goal of creating a physical LGBTQ+ Community Center.

Written by: Anne Fey — city@theaggie.org