Thousands filled the streets in Jackson Heights on Sunday to celebrate the 30th annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival. Having been absent for the last two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s festivities took the event to a whole new level.
Lasting over two hours, this year’s Queens Pride Parade featured more than 100 different groups, including local activists, LGBTQIA+ organizations, and elected officials.
Mayor Eric Adams helped lead the parade along with Grand Marshalls Adrienne Adams, speaker of the New York City Council, and former City Councilman and parade co-founder, Daniel Dromm.
The event also included representatives from nonprofit organizations such as Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo, the Caribbean Equality Project, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium, End Trans Detention, and many more.
It also included several performances by Fogo Azul, The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps, Gotham Cheer, CitySoul NYC, and City Cheer.
The Queens Pride Parade was founded by Dromm and gay rights activist Maritza Martinez in 1993 to improve the visibility of the LGBTQ community following the death of Julio Rivera, a 29-year-old gay Puerto Rican man who was viciously attacked by three skinheads at the schoolyard near 78th Street and 37th Avenue.
His would become the first gay hate crime to be tried in New York State. The street corner where the attack took place was later renamed “Julio Rivera Corner” as a symbolic gesture honoring his life and memory.
Jackson Heights has been home to one of the largest LGBT communities in the entire City since the 1920s, but when the attack took place in ‘93, activism was largely non-existent in what was at the time a socially conservative borough.
“If it wasn’t for Julio the Queens LGBT movement would not have gotten as far as it has gotten,” Dromm said back in 2015. “Julio did not die in vain. He changed people’s lives.”
Every year, the parade—which spans over a dozen city blocks—concludes the festivities at this historic corner. But Pride doesn’t stop there. The festivities continued long into the night with live music, presentations, food, drinks, and more.