5th annual Manatee Pride Festival

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MANATEE – No matter the age, gender or sexual orientation, all were welcomed at the Manatee Pride Festival.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to express their diversity, express who they are, their belongings and who they are in the world,” said Entertainment Coordinator, Ro Derick Byers.

Jessie Rankin says she’s proud walking with her two moms by her side without judgment.

“The looks you don’t get the looks you used to, you don’t get things and names thrown at you it’s safer to be who you are now,” said Rankin.

Hundreds enjoying a fun day in the park 13- year- old Tessa Rehis says PRIDE has a meaningful message.

“I feel that like having pride and accepting everyone means something because the world needs a little peace with everything going on the world need to be more acceptance,” Rehis.

Ro Derick Byers is amazed by the growth of the event over the years.

“In size, in volume, and stature so I think we’re starting to outgrow our current location, but we’re going to rock it until we can’t fill it out anymore,” said Byers.

As a fundraiser for Prism Youth Initiative they are moving forwards towards acceptance.

“We’re at the point where we don’t want to change the world, we want to be a part of the world and that’s what pride is all about” said Byers.

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