deland pride members
PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF DELAND PROUD — Members of the nonprofit organization DeLand Pride are pictured with City Commissioner Kevin Reid, right, to celebrate the city formally recognizing the month of June as Pride Month. From left are PJay Peck, Desiree Sylvester, Shosana Stephens, Aimee Hardesty, Ann-Marie Willacker, Heather McLean, Andrea Rodriguez and, holding the city’s proclamation, Aaliyah Nouveau.

The proclamation marked a first in the city’s history

On June 20, the City of DeLand formally recognized June as Pride Month, a first in the city’s history.

Announcing the move was City Commissioner Chris Cloudman, who read a formal proclamation marking June as Pride Month. Alongside him were members of DeLand Pride, a local nonprofit organization that advocates for the LGBTQ+ community.

“… June is annually recognized as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, considered the catalyst of the modern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) rights movement,” Cloudman read. “… All human beings are born free and equal  in dignity and rights. LGBTQ individuals have had immeasurable impact to the cultural, civic and economic successes of our country.”

Not only was it the first time the city recognized June as Pride Month, but the first time DeLand Pride was recognized, too. The organization was formed in 2016 in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando.

Executive Director Ann-Marie Willacker was thankful for the recognition. 

“​​We are grateful to the City of DeLand for their acknowledgment of National Pride Month and for recognizing and honoring the LGBTQ+ members of the DeLand community,” she said. “We look forward to continued partnership in ensuring DeLand is a safe and welcoming place for everyone.”


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