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Another group will speak out two days before possible straight pride event in Modesto

Tensions run high at Modesto’s council meeting as Straight Pride organizers go on defense

Several dozen people gathered Wednesday evening in Modesto, California’s, downtown to send a message to the city: Do not let the National Straight Pride Coalition hold a rally in a city park.
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Several dozen people gathered Wednesday evening in Modesto, California’s, downtown to send a message to the city: Do not let the National Straight Pride Coalition hold a rally in a city park.

A newly formed group plans to speak out Thursday evening against the straight pride event that might happen Saturday in Modesto.

The Modesto Nonviolent Collective will hold a 6 p.m. press conference outside the city-county building at Tenth Street Place. It formed to support the LGTBQ+ people who feel targeted by straight pride, said Max Reed, one of the collective leaders, by phone Wednesday.

The National Straight Pride Coalition drew widespread attention when it applied for a city permit to use Graceada Park on Saturday afternoon. City officials suggested Modesto Centre Plaza as a more appropriate site, but the organizers had trouble securing insurance.

The straight pride event will happen at a time and place to be announced on the coalition website Saturday, leader Don Grundmann told The Modesto Bee last week.

According to the website, the coalition promotes traditional gender roles, Christianity, heterosexuality, Western civilization and the contributions of whites to that portion of civilization.

Critics say the straight pride event will foster racial and religious hatred as well as opposition to LGBTQ+ people.

“The National State Pride Coalition is a white supremacist organization whose stated mission is to terrorize and plan ‘war activities’ against queer and trans people,” said Michelle Park, another collective leader, in a news release.

“Now that the organizers have stated that they will convene without a permit in an undisclosed location, they have made their actions unpredictable. The city has lost control of the situation and the risk to public safety has increased.”

Opponents of straight pride also will hold an interfaith vigil at 6:30 p.m. Friday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, at Oakdale Road and Briggsmore Avenue.

And on Saturday, there will be a counter-protest somewhere near the straight pride event, if it happens, and several places where targeted people can find quiet support.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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