WATSONVILLE — For the past four years, local non-profit organization Pajaro Valley Pride has held its very own celebration and march in downtown Watsonville, aiming to bring awareness to and support the LGBT+ community of South County.
The free, family-friendly event returns this Sunday—at a new location and with more planned than before.
“We wanted to switch things up, change the formula a bit,” explained Danielle Elizalde, Marketing Coordinator for PV Pride.
Elizalde said there were a number of factors that prompted the organization to move locations. In particular, they were looking for a venue that would work with the resources and funds they had.
Enter YWCA Watsonville—which offered to sponsor the event and waive the building use fee.
“They were really excited to work with us,” Elizalde said. “They’ve been so supportive.”
Things start at 11:20 a.m. with Pajaro Valley Pride’s annual march — this time heading down Blackburn Street and onto busy Riverside Drive at Highway 129, then onto Lincoln St. and back to the YWCA on East Beach Street.
PV Pride 2019 introduces new experiences to the usual lineup of live entertainment and informational booths. Workshops, a clothing swap for transgender youth (organized with Diversity Center Santa Cruz County), a free beauty station and tarot card readings are planned, as well as a Kids Zone and Teen Zone.
The biggest addition, however, will be a lineup of film screenings organized with help from Watsonville Film Festival—PV Pride’s chosen Community Organization of the Year.
Films include a short documentary, “Libertad,” about PV Pride 2019’s Grand Marshall Alejandra Santiago, as well as a film about the first-ever Watsonville Pride held in 2008. “Happy Birthday Marsha,” a documentary about New York City transgender artist and activist Marsha Johnson who ignited the 1969 Stonewall Riots, will also play.
This year’s theme of PV Pride, “Remembering 50 Years of Stonewall Trailblazers: Power to the Youth,” pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of those riots.
“We wanted to highlight our trans elders who did so much for the community,” Elizalde said. “At the same time, recognizing that youth are our future—and we need to do everything we can to support them.”
PV Pride will be awarding its 2019 Youth Scholarship recipients at the event, and speeches by Santiago, Watsonville Mayor Francisco Estrada and others from the community are also scheduled.
“It all goes back to visibility,” Elizalde said. “When people see us, they realize we’re just like everyone else. We’re all human beings.”
Pajaro Valley Pride 2019 will be held at YWCA Watsonville, 340 East Beach St. Street parking is limited; attendees can also park in the senior lot at Watsonville High School lot located off Blackburn St. Organizers ask march participants to gather at 11 a.m. at the YWCA. For a full schedule and information visit pajarovalleypride.org.