Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt took a series of “first” actions Monday night at the opening ceremonies for the 42nd OKC Pride Week.
“Today is the day to reconfirm our commitment in this city that everyone is welcome in Oklahoma City, and all people in Oklahoma City are loved,” said Holt with a large smile as the crowd cheered.
It was a special night for the city and for him.
By the end of the evening’s events, Holt was the first mayor in the city’s history to declare Pride Week as an official emphasis of the City of Oklahoma City. This year marks the 42nd Pride Week for the city.
In addition, he will be the first Mayor in OKC history to walk in the Pride Parade on Saturday. It will be the 31st OKC Pride Parade.
“It was time. It was time for things to change,” Holt told Free Press after the ceremonies concluded.
It was a drastic change from mayors in years past who some thought were made conspicuous by their silence about Pride Week each year.
And, it was another example of how Holt is making good on a statement Free Press reported his saying during the campaign: “I’m not just running for mayor of downtown. I’m running for mayor of all of Oklahoma City.”
“I love my district”
Senator Kay Floyd, an openly LGBTQ Oklahoma legislator representing Senate District 46, was present for the entire evening, comfortably interacting with the large crowd that filled the event space and the courtyard of the Dunlop Codding law firm in Film Row.
We asked her about the diversity of her district.
“My district is very diverse,” said Floyd. “But the interesting thing is diversity doesn’t necessarily mean gay pride and things like that. Diversity is a much bigger concept than that.”
Floyd said that her district has “always been diverse.”
“You know, we’ve got all shapes, all sizes, all colors, ethnic backgrounds, religious backgrounds. So I love my district.”
Diverse school district
Oklahoma City Public Schools is the largest school district in the state.
It spans many different neighborhoods from touching Moore Public Schools in the south and Deer Creek Public Schools in the North.
The district runs from touching Putnam City Schools in the west to Luther Public Schools in the far east of the county.
We asked OKCPS Board Chair Paula Lewis and Board member Mark Mann about their action Monday, June 10 to pass a resolution supporting all students in their growth no matter what their personal expression of identity.
“I think it normalizes it when you do it year after year,” said Lewis. “It normalizes that this is a valued community. It’s the same as any other community that has a celebration and that’s what we want for our kids.”
Mann was equally as positive.
“I think it affirms our support for diversity in the district. We have a diverse district, whether it’s racially diverse or religiously diverse or a sexual orientation diversity.”
Many leaders were honored for their hard work over the years to support LGBTQ persons in Oklahoma City.
Some were activists, some teachers, others community program leaders.
What they all had in common was their leadership and encouragement of those in Oklahoma City who too often found themselves on the outside of society and struggling to realize their worth.
Two grand marshals of the Pride Parade were named this year and given sashes.
Margaret Cox was one, an activist in the city for many years.
In fact, she has been arrested 14 times for civil disobedience.
Cox received the “Rebel Grand Marshall” designation for her activism on issues such as mental health, peace, justice, abolishing the death penalty, and “anything that is worth fighting.”
See our preview of the week’s activities for ideas about what to attend next and follow Lauren Zuniga on Twitter @lazuni for more information as the week progresses.