LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island’s PrideFest and parade will be moving to a new location for the first time in 26 years.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to crowd the city of Long Beach on June 9 through June 11.
The event had been held in Huntington since 1991.
The LGBT Network’s CEO David Kilmnick said events such as Long Island Pride are so important because there are still people who are afraid to come out, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
“Pride events show those who are not comfortable at being out that there are many people out there who are like them, that will support them and that will give them the hope and courage to hopefully come out one day soon,” he said.
“There are some people who still have a difficult time coming out today and it’s not surprising given the world that we’re living in is filled with divisiveness and hate,” Kilmnick added.
As WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Javier Nava pumped his fists into the air as the rainbow flag rose with the stars and stripes at Long Beach City Hall Thursday.
“It’s very important,” Nava said.
Nava was shot in the abdomen in the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando last year. The bullet is still lodged inside of him.
Four of his friends were not that lucky.
“And for me, it could be easy just to stay in my house, with my pain,” he said.
But Nava came to Long Beach to spread a message of love and acceptance “and change minds for the people.”
Kilmnick noted that Nava lives in Orlando, but said “he might as well live in Long Beach.”
In addition to the parade on June 11, there will be a total of 30 others events held during Long Island Pride on the beach and boardwalk.
“What we’re going to experience in Long Beach is a celebration and a community coming together like we have never experienced before in Long Island Pride’s history,” he said.
Last year, the parade was canceled because of security reasons.