What do your kids do during the summer? Many kids play sports, hang out with friends, go to concerts or parties, and may even spend their days doing nothing at all. Well us teens in URJ Camp Newman’s Avodah program have taken part in a valiant effort to end homophobia by marching in the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, California. We got up at 6 am after around 5 hours of sleep due to some very meaningful programming the night before where many tears were shed all for the sake of being proud of who we are. We ate breakfast at 6:30 and were immediately shipped down to San Francisco to show our undying support for the gay community. After about a two hour bus ride, which most of us weren’t awake for, and another 2 hours of prep/walking around The City, we were ready to begin our march. All that followed was nothing short of breathtaking.
After arriving we had about an hour to explore the ferry building, which up until that day I thought was only a building for ferries. After that we proceeded to our spot in the parade and our truck that played music that we dance to on Shabbat. Even when we were just waiting for the parade to start we were already dancing and having a great time. At that point the parade started and everything from that point on is kind of just a wild blur of excitement. There were colors, pumping and pounding colors bursting all around from left to right and left to right. It was all just one big messy blur of proud beautiful color, there was even color in the sound, from the people playing music on the sidelines to our truck playing the familiar songs we dance to every Friday night, to the frenzied screams of the exuberant crowd that surrounded us on both sides. All was color and all was bliss, I can indefinitely say it was one of the most fun and powerful experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Before going pride parade I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t even know if it was for me. I have heard over the years all about how cool and fun the experience is. I had expected to go to the parade and just have a good time with my friends and I didn’t expect much more. But then the day came along with all the excitement. We hit those buses and had a burst of energy. Upon arriving in San Francisco you could feel the magic in the air and feel that it was the day of pride. It was that moment when it hit me that this day would be very special. I have always felt like an advocate for gay rights and I felt truly like an advocate marching for equality with all those people who are also fighting for the cause. Advocating is about action more than preaching and I truly felt on this day that I was advocating. Marching in the parade was awesome. Everyone was proud to be who they are. Dancing down those streets meant more to me than anything else because I was marching with my brothers and sisters. My goal is that the pride will never end and equality can be just our daily life.