Franklin Will Again Celebrate with Pride on June 25th, 2023
Celebrate with Pride 2023 will take place on Sunday, June 25th, from 1-4 p.m. This year’s logo, unique to Franklin, was created by Robin Baidya.
By Judith Dorato O’Gara
The Franklin LGBTQ Alliance will host Celebrate with Pride 2023 in Franklin Town Common on Sunday, June 25th, 2023, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. This event will be free to the public and open to all. There will be no rain date.
Last year, an estimated 250-450 people turned out for the event, which was supported Franklin by the Franklin Interfaith Council (https://franklininterfaith.org), OUT Metrowest (https://outmetrowest.org), BAGLY (www.bagly.org), PFLAG Attleboro (www.pflagattleboro.org), and the First Universalist Society of Franklin (https://fusf.org), most of whom joined in to attend the event.
“We had a good amount of nonprofits and religious organizations out there last year,” says Amber Wilson, new president of the Franklin LGBTQ Alliance, who points out that those entities will be present again, along with a “good number of vendors and food trucks, and we’re going to have a passport to encourage everyone to visit all of the stations set up. People can win some prizes.” Prizes include shirts signed by members of New Kids on the Block.
Franklin Common sidewalks will be filled with fun activities, with students from local schools will helping with craft tables, says Wilson. Festivities include creating Kindness Rocks, another community weaving project, a selfie station, artists and musicians coming to perform, with an emcee lined up.
This year, Franklin LGBTQ Alliance t-shirts will sport a new logo. Wilson points out that the group was “very intentional with our design” on the new t-shirts, hoping to produce something unique to the town. Robin Baidya, a member and events coordinator of the Franklin LGBTQ Alliance, came up with a number of iterations of the design.
“We settled on the gradient, because it was all the colors coming together and (we liked) the way they meshed in together with the name of the town. We wanted it to be about us as a community,” says Wilson.
The new president of the Alliance was not personally involved in last year’s Celebrate with Pride on the Franklin Town Common.
“They had a stand-in last (spring), after what happened with the school committee, when some parents were yelling at students. I think that’s what prompted it, initially, and that morphed into this event that was so much fun – with all the things I love,” says Wilson, who had been looking to get involved in the LGBTQ community when she moved here with her then fiancee, now wife in 2019. Being in the military, neither got to truly explore the town until 2021, but when Wilson started looking for LGBTQ groups, the closest thing she could find was the Franklin Cultural Council. When she heard of the Franklin LGBTQ Alliance, Wilson says, “I was excited, but (the group) was formed, by allies, to specifically have this event.” She envisioned more. “I was just like, I’m here, and I’m excited, and I’m ready to do the work.” This year, the group has been more active socially, organizing table games at the Franklin Public Library the third Tuesday of each month as well as a book club. (There’s also Pride Month Musical Bingo coming up at the library June 7th.)
“There’s a meeting every month with a formal part of the meeting, but afterwards, we do something social,” says Wilson. “We had a local baker in to tell us how to decorate cupcakes, we did a re-gift swap after the holidays, we played virtual Jackbox games and decorated Easter eggs. This month, on June first, we got permission from the town to plant 600 5” Pride flags.” Now, in addition to a Facebook and Instagram page, there’s a monthly email newsletter. Although the group doesn’t have its own table at the upcoming Franklin Downtown Partnership Strawberry Stroll on June 9th, several organizations will present pamphlets and fundraising for the group at their tables.
The Franklin LGBTQ Alliance will also have a table at the Franklin Farmers Market on June 16th and June 23rd.
Wilson hopes for a great turnout and great weather on June 25th (as there is no rain date) for Celebrate with Pride 2023.
“Obviously, we want the members of the LGBTQ community to be there, but also our allies, especially considering that’s who formed this group. It just goes to show how important it is to have strong allies who can hold a platform and give us a voice,” says Wilson, “I think that love will always overshadow the hate. Any of the negativity that has shown itself has been drowned out by much more positivity,” something Wilson feels is at the heart of the Franklin community.