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Expanded Pride Parade event set for June 11

by | Jun 1, 2023 | Featured, Featured: Features

Three years ago, Hopkinton High School alumnus Freya Proudman and then-high school student Madison Loos started the first Pride Parade in Hopkinton. Proudman planned the event while in the United Kingdom attending college.

“It was a dream of hers that she wanted to see come to fruition,” said Cathleen Dinsmore, the Hopkinton Freedom Team’s president and founder.

The Hopkinton Freedom Team, a community organization dedicated to addressing discrimination, bias and social injustice, is planning for this year’s annual Pride Parade along with co-sponsors Hopkinton Youth & Family Services and the Hopkinton Center for the Arts.

The Freedom Team is trying to carry Proudman and Loos’ vision and ensure the Pride Parade stays an annual tradition. Organizers continue to involve students from the high school.

“Students are really the ones who inspire us and put in a lot of effort in our mission,” Dinsmore said.

Entering its third year, this year’s Pride Parade is only getting bigger, with more performances and broader community involvement. The parade will start and end at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts on Sunday, June 11, at 1 p.m.

To foster more inclusivity, the Freedom Team has reached out to organizations in Westborough, Ashland and Southborough, encouraging neighboring towns’ participation in the celebration.

“We want to make it more of a regional celebration rather than just for Hopkinton,” Dinsmore said.

Beyond making Hopkinton a more welcoming community for all, the Hopkinton Freedom team is trying to bring attention to other communities also having Pride events in June.

The parade will be followed by a celebration at HCA’s outdoor performance area from 2-4 p.m., featuring dancers, singers and musicians. A variety of local groups will contribute to the lively atmosphere, providing a range of activities and crafts for all ages. In addition, there will be food trucks and a bounce house.

The decision to expand the Pride celebrations resulted from feedback after last year’s event.

“We have heard from many people that they want to have fun, celebrate, feel really included and be themselves,” Dinsmore said. “We want to show the love and the inclusion.”

More than just being a large celebration, the Pride Parade is a way to bring more attention and awareness to the LGBTQ+ community — people who often are overlooked or dismissed.

“I think whenever there’s an opportunity to humanize a group of people that have historically not been humanized, it is always a good thing,” Freedom Team vice president Lynn Canty said.

Canty also described a sentiment of gratitude she felt from Pride Parade attendees in the past.

“People are grateful that there is a group making an effort to bring recognition to a marginalized community here in our town and provide the opportunity to celebrate them and encourage other people to join in,” Canty said.

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