Friday Night Pride: How Hastings Celebrated June’s Pride Month


Sophie Halliburton, Managing Editor

On June 3rd, Hastings hosted its first major Pride event, called Friday Night Pride, which sought to highlight and uplift the LGBTQ+ members of the community through speeches, performances, and live music from the Farragut Middle School and Hastings High School chorus, as well as activities for younger children. From around 6 to 9pm, Warburton was packed with local residents of all ages, everyone enjoying themselves and using this event as an opportunity to come together and celebrate. 

Local businesses and organizations set up stands along the street, selling pride-themed merchandise and food, as well as fundraising for different causes. Several tables were either representing or donating to Center Lane, which is an educational program for LGBTQ+ youth in Yonkers, as well as the LOFT Community Center in White Plains, which is a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community that runs support groups and group therapy sessions. The high school GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) was also able to fundraise for their club by selling pride t-shirts from the PTSA as well as handing out informative pamphlets regarding the LGBTQ+ community.

Brian Harris, a Hastings resident and co-organizer of Friday Night Pride, says the event was overall a huge success and was satisfied by the large turnout. He explained that the main goal in organizing Friday Night Pride was to “create an event in Hastings that would really highlight and amplify the supportive nature of our community.” He talked about how he and Jen DiBonaventura, another co-organizer, wanted to “help support a sense of safety, acceptance, and celebration of the LGBTQ+ [members]” of Hastings. 

Harris also believes that Friday Night Pride provided an ideal outlet, especially for younger members of the community, to feel more supported and comfortable with their sexuality as there can still be a stigma for some youth surrounding coming out about one’s gender identity or sexual orientation. 

“I was very moved by not only how many people [attended Friday Night Pride], but the number of people that were truly invested in the event,” Harris noted.

Mr. Steven Lopez, the faculty advisor of the GSA, also attended the event and felt it was greatly beneficial to the GSA and the town in general. He saw Friday Night Pride as a great opportunity “to have a fun community event where families, children, the LGBTQ+ community, and allies [can] come together and celebrate diversity and inclusion.”

Since the GSA is a safe place and a source of support in the school community, Lopez was grateful for the chance to advocate and fundraise for the club. 

Additionally, Liam Shanley, a graduating HHS senior and president of the GSA, feels that “with all of these anti-queer laws [being implemented] throughout the country, it’s good to have events like these to break away from all that negativity and just celebrate what it’s like to be a part of the [LGBTQ+] community.” 

Liam also addressed the different flyers and merchandise being handed out by the GSA during the event. 

“We were selling t-shirts that the PTSA donated to us and we were also handing out pamphlets on terminology and queer etiquette,” he explained. “I think it’s important for community members to understand what [LGBTQ+] terminology is especially since it’s constantly changing.” 

Elianna Carvalho, a HHS sophomore and member of the GSA, feels that Friday Night Pride was “beyond a success.” She particularly emphasized how impressed she was by the event’s attendance as she “[didn’t] think [she had] ever seen that many people in Hastings at one time,” and was appreciative at how “many people came out just to celebrate and enjoy the evening.” 

“It was so beautiful to see everyone together after years in quarantine. I hope this becomes a Hastings tradition in the future,” said Elianna.