PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Safety concerns now surround local Pride events following riot conspiracy arrests outside an event in Coeur D’Alene on Saturday.
Abby White is thrilled to have the first ever Plateau Pride event in Tehaleh, southeast of Tacoma, an area she said hasn’t always been open to the LGBTQ community.
“There’s been more discussion, more openness so it felt like a really good time for an entry point to be able to have an event like this and say we welcome the LGBTQ community,” said Abby White, the Executive Director of Hope Development Practice.
Brittany Vinograe previously had to travel all the way to Seattle to celebrate pride.
“It’s really, really important here, this tends to be more of a conservative area so being able to have an outlet for use that are LGBTQ is really nice to have that,” Vinograe said.
After 31 people with ties to a white nationalist group were arrested in Coeur D’Alene at a pride event Saturday, security concerns immediately kicked in.
“We definitely talked a lot about it and reached out to some places about potential security. We did reach out to the police department and they were really supportive,” White said.
White said Puyallup police weren’t able to be at the event on short notice but offered advice, and East Pierce Fire was already planned to be on site.
Meanwhile, in just two weeks on June 26th, Seattle is expecting to see 300,000-400,000 people for the annual pride parade.
Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx said she was keeping a close eye as the events in Coeur D’Alene unfolded.
“This is exactly why we have our pride events, it's to be able to, to push back and to stand up for our rights and to recommit ourselves to what we know is true that we are constantly being targeted,” said Marx.
As part of the permitting process, Seattle Pride is required to work with Seattle Police for primary security up and down the route on 4th Avenue. The group has also hired private security for areas that are community-facing. Seattle Pride and police met two days ago for safety information.
“We're keeping in close contact with the police department to talk about what safety measures are in place and what notification processes look like. I feel really confident we have a good plan in place right now,” said Marx.
Seattle Pride said they have stepped up security even in the wake of the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde. The group said they will continue to monitor and make changes to safety plans as needed ahead of the parade on June 26th.
As for Plateau Pride, they’re looking forward to larger events in the future.