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A message about straight pride: ‘This hateful rhetoric is not what Modesto is about’

Nonviolent coalition denounces straight pride event planned for Modesto

The Modesto Nonviolent Collective held a press conference against the straight pride gathering that could happen Saturday in Modesto, California.
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The Modesto Nonviolent Collective held a press conference against the straight pride gathering that could happen Saturday in Modesto, California.

The Modesto Nonviolent Collective debuted Thursday evening with strong words against the straight pride event planned for Saturday.

About 50 people took part in a press conference at Tenth Street Place on behalf of LGBTQ+ residents who feel threatened by the gathering.

“We want to send a very clear message to the organizers of the straight pride event,” said Marcus Lawrence of the Modesto Progressive Democrats. “This hateful rhetoric is not what Modesto is about.”

The National Straight Pride Coalition sought a city permit to use Graceada Park to celebrate its belief in traditional gender roles, Christianity and the importance of white people to Western civilization.

City officials suggested Modesto Centre Plaza instead, but the coalition has not been able to get the required insurance. At last report, the organizers planned to announce the time and location on their website Saturday morning.

Critics have said the coalition is also spreading hatred based on race and religion. They warned that people bent on violence could show up Saturday.

The Modesto Nonviolent Collective formed in response to the event. It already has about 25 member groups.

“We stand here together today to let the city of Modesto know that we will not be intimidated,” said Michelle Park, one of the organizers. “We will continue to fight for the safety and well-being of all citizens together, just like we have been doing for all these years.”

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.

Some opponents plan to hold a counter-protest Saturday. Others will gather at the Central Valley Pride Center and other “safe spaces.”

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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