Up there in Spencer, North Carolina, and the neighboring town of Salisbury, they hold the Holiday Caravan Parade every Thanksgiving. It was a tradition; but that’s all over now because the organizers have cancelled this year’s parade because of The Gays.
In 2017, parade organizers banned a float sponsored by AVITA Pharmacy because the company invited members of the local PFLAG [Parents and friends of Lesbians and Gays] chapter to ride along with them. Donna Brown Odrosky, the local PFLAG president, said that organizers objected to their rainbow paraphernalia and black PFLAG t-shirts.
The organizers claimed the pharmacy violated the rules by allowing another group to advertise their message with “signage, apparel, fliers” without prior approval, and Odrosky accused them of discrimination, as did many in the community, and thousands from around the world. And so now the parade is off; it will no longer be held, and the organizers are blaming the response they got when they decided to ban the LGBTQ group for the end of the parade.
See, they’d rather shut down a 58-year tradition than allow everyone to march, well, at least The Gays.
The parade organizers website says:
“[S]ince last year’s parade the all-volunteer board members have received hate mail, emails, and threats to protest the 2018 parade to not only their personal email addresses, home addresses, social media but also to their place of employment. These board members have dedicated their entire lives and heart to this event each and every year, some of them for over 30 and 40 years!”
PFLAG had their own statement:
“Since the incident in November 2017, PFLAG has asked for, and welcomed a dialogue with the Holiday Caravan board, to no avail. It has always been our vision at Salisbury Rowan PFLAG to have ‘a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected and affirmed inclusive of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.’ …We look forward to working with a future parade committee whose mission and vision more closely aligns with PFLAG, the cities of Salisbury and Spencer, and event sponsors.”
I keep going back to that old folkloric tale of the first Thanksgiving, when Native Americans and Pilgrims came together in peace and harmony, in an attempt to understand one another, to work with one another, to live side-by-side.
I don’t think the organizers of this parade remember that, so maybe, one day, someone with a more open mind and a more accepting heart will decide to revive the parade. It’s sad to see a tradition end because of Hate.
I mean, it’s a parade! What can you possibly hate about a parade?