Enid Pride absolutely requires effort and dedication and we know everyone involved realizes this. Beyond having fun, selling stuff to make a little money, making new connections, and reuniting with old friends and making new ones, what matters most is that Enid Pride happens. Enid Pride wouldn’t happen without you.

One Enid teen may decide to not choose suicide when he sees some people in his town really do care, and are much like him. A young same sex couple may decide to stop hiding from their community, and step out into it by becoming involved in other important Enid organizations and events, sharing their amazing individual talents. A private, but not public ally becomes a public supporter of bullying prevention efforts when they realize Enid Pride people are also parents, grandparents, brothers, or sisters, who care just like they do.  A young, intelligent, gifted professional decides to not move away in search of a more accepting community. Even the stodgy, rigid naysayers are eventually told we’re not a bunch of lunatics running around half naked in the park, but just families and individuals coming together because of our shared humanity.

From the Pride supporters, to the one who just don’t get it, whether they attend or not, they are affected by the fact that Pride happens. What matters is we just keep doing what we’re doing, because we know the results, whether big or small in someone’s life, move us closer toward something better. We plan, we work, we load stuff, deal with parking, chase papers in the wind, work some more, get sunburned, and make compromises…we make Pride happen because it’s the right thing to do.

I was moved to tears a couple times Saturday when I looked around and saw all the vendors, volunteers, and attendees. Each and every one of you mattered. The fact that you just showed up, really matters, and I want to thank you for that. It’s an amazing experience to look around and know that every single person there made a choice to be there, instead of somewhere else, for that one day. I was truly humbled by your presence. Because Pride has to happen, it wouldn’t matter if only one person attended, but 1,000 times that is thrilling.

I’m just a woman who loves her gay son and diverse friends endlessly, and I would move mountains to repay even a small portion of the love and joy and peace they bring to my life. If just making sure Enid Pride happens can do that for them or even someone I don’t know, then Enid Pride happens. Various sayings communicate the point that being of good character is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. When it comes to Enid Pride, I think it’s safe to say that’s even truer when the whole community is watching. Thank you all.

Kristi Balden