COMPTON, Calif. — The annual LA Pride Parade started in Los Angeles in 1970, partly as a reaction to the Stonewall Riots in New York City the previous year.
It would have celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020 but was canceled last year due to the pandemic. It wound up morphing into an All Black Lives Matter demonstration. However, controversy grew when initially, LA Pride organizers tried to involve the police, seeking a permit for the protest.
As pride celebrations begin in 2021, two separate festivals are intersecting. One will take place at the iconic LA Memorial Coliseum and the other in a humble Compton parking lot.
Princess Murray was once in foster care. Now Murray, who prefers she and her pronouns, works with kids in the system. Many feel comfortable enough with her to come out and share their true identity.
"It feels good doing this type of work… love it," Murray said.
Murray went to her first LA Pride as a teenager. She said she couldn't afford a ticket, so she jumped the fence. Although advertised as a safe and welcoming space, Murray found herself singled out by police.
"We get pushed against a wall all the time. I've had boots in my neck. I've been harassed. There's been a lot of things that happened to me when I was going to Pride," Murray said.
Feeling Pride needed to be more inclusive, Murray took a chance and wrote a proposal for Compton's first-ever pride event.
Murray was reacting to a celebration that has been criticized for overlooking people of color. Amid controversy, the event recently moved from its longtime home in West Hollywood.
Executive producer Jeff Consoletti brought OUTLOUD: Raising Voices, the pride season kickoff, to the LA Memorial Coliseum this year. He's been the Pride coordinator for almost 15 years. But, after some missteps angering celebrities and activists, he's giving a few time slots to change-makers like Murray.
"We leave the activism to the activists. I want to be able to provide a platform to raise them up in an entertaining fashion," Consoletti said.
Speaking at last year's All Black Lives Matter march was maybe the largest crowd Murray had ever addressed. She's more than ready to do it again, she said.
OUTLOUD: Raising Voices began last year as a 10-episode series on Facebook instead of pride celebrations. Now it's a three-day concert running from June 4-6.
Everyone is encouraged to watch the free livestream of Compton Pride from noon to 6 p.m. June 5. Before Compton Pride, volunteers will be doing a food and hygiene giveaway from 10 a.m. to noon at 1303 W. Walnut Parkway, Compton, CA 90220.