MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a Twin Cities tradition for 350,000 people, rooted in camaraderie and executed with fun. But this year the Pride festivities will be a bit less boisterous.

“We can still celebrate and have a party, but it’s kind of a somber party this year, it’s more of a time of remembrance, to respect what came before us,” Bobby Palmer, the assistant manager of The Saloon said.

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The Pride Festival parade is canceled. Instead, there will be two grassroots marches on Saturday and Sunday.

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The Saloon is typically at the center of festivities. COVID-19 means they will limit capacity. And they will focus their mission to collect donations to support Black trans groups.

“Black people, brown people, transgender people are some of the most vulnerable in our community and it’s important that we show support and respect for them,” Palmer explains.

Because of the death of George Floyd and because of the recent killings of black trans women, there will be an extra focus on honoring people of color within the LGBTQ+ community.

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Another way Pride will be different is the rainbow flag won’t be as prominent. They will fly a more inclusive flag that honors people of color.

Dancer and performer Amir Kinara says it’s about time.

“Me as an entertainer, I shouldn’t have to bust my butt twice as hard just to get the same spot on that stage, especially if I have been working twice as hard if not harder than my counterparts — that shouldn’t be the case – but it is,” Kinara said.

The LGBTQ+ community has taken heat for not being inclusive in years past and the recent unrest has shone the light on disparities.

Thousands plan to march for Pride and equity this weekend, the show will go on but the spotlight will be re-centered.

“We just want to give people a chance to understand, this is what people have been put through for years, for decades, for generations,” Amir added.

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Another focus this year, is for the march to honor the history of Pride, and historic protests at the Stonewall Inn in New York, where LGBT activists reacted to police raids in Greenwich Village.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield