Will go on rain or shine with music, BBQ and giveaways
TEWKSBURY — On Friday, June 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the Tewksbury Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee will host the town’s first annual Pride Lights celebration. Pride Lights will be an inclusive, welcoming community event featuring speakers and live music from local band Tee & the Gents and students from Tewksbury Memorial High School and The Music Room.
Code 1 BBQ and The Stand “Shaken not Stirred” Lemonade will offer refreshments. All residents are invited to enjoy glow necklaces, swag, food, and more.
Town Hall Avenue will be closed for the event from Pleasant St. to the Town Hall parking lot, allowing space for community groups to set up tables. Residents may park at the Town Hall Annex lot or across the street at the former Bank of America lot. Police will be on hand to help with crossing Rt. 38, and the event will run rain or shine.
Tewksbury Public Schools groups including the Gender Sexuality Alliance and Tewksbury Titans Robotics Team will help celebrate. The event will culminate in the lighting of our gazebo in LED rainbow lights, thanks to a grant.
“The Tewksbury Police want to ensure that all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect,” said Tewksbury Police Department Chief Ryan Columbus. “No person should feel marginalized due to their differences, regardless of what that is. We are committed to ensuring that we build trust between the police and all members of our community.”
TPD officers will be on site Friday night to help with pedestrian crossings and event safety.
The gazebo will remain decked in Pride colors for the month of June.
“The response from the community in support of this event has been tremendous,” said Jayne Wellman, chair of the TDEIAC and Select Board member. “Pride Lights is about shining light — celebrating the individuality for all our LGBTQ+ friends, family, allies and neighbors and honoring their contributions to our community. Pride Lights is an outward reminder that Tewksbury is a welcoming community, with a place for everyone.”
Pride started in 1969, when Stonewall Inn patrons, most of whom identified as LGBTQ+, came out to demand equal treatment under the law in a demonstration that lasted six days. One year later, the first Gay Pride Parade stretched for 15 New York City blocks. That quintessentially American display of activism is celebrated each year in June, which in 1999 was formally designated Pride Month. Across the country, communities organize events and parades to recognize the contributions of, and show solidarity with, their LGBTQ+ neighbors.
While work to embody the values of Pride — tolerance, acceptance, and inclusivity — continues year-round, Pride Lights is an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate.
“In a time where the rights of LGBTQ+ people are being challenged across the country, being able to be out, proud and welcomed in Tewksbury is so important to me and many other LGBTQ+ people in our town,” said Mason Dunn, vice-chair of the TDEIAC, resident and transgender rights advocate.
How can you get involved? All residents, community groups, and local businesses are invited to participate. Space for a table to distribute promotional items will be provided for businesses and community groups. Contact Jayne Wellman for more information at email@example.com or 978-726-3359.
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