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Be proud of your borough - 12th annual Brooklyn Pride kicks off June 14

New Yorkers from all walks of life will do just a bit more walking this Saturday, June 14, when Brooklyn Pride kicks off its 12th annual Multi-cultural Festival and Parade in Park Slope.

“The goal of the Festival is inclusion,” said Doreen Dejesus, chair of Brooklyn Pride. “It’s a way for everyone to get together despite their race, beliefs or sexual preference to just enjoy the day and each other.”

To celebrate Brooklyn’s diversity and community spirit, a wide variety of events for all ages are scheduled throughout the day to create a festive, friendly and healthy environment.

“Brooklyn’s LGBT community is as diverse as Brooklyn itself,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz, who goes every year as a major supporter of the LGBT community, “and the Brooklyn Pride Multicultural Festival is a vital celebration of that essential mix.”

To start things off on the right foot, the day will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a 10K Fun Run through Prospect Park. Registration is $20 and half of the proceeds will go to The Park Slope Day Center Geriatric. Runners can register in advance or the day of at 9 a.m.

The Multicultural Festival will begin at 11 a.m. Here street fair revelers will find a full schedule of stage performances, shopping, food and family activities. The Kid’s Space will have puppets, jewelry making and other arts and crafts. And the fair will also be a way for folks to learn about LGBT organizations, issues and businesses in their community.

Most of the musical and dancing acts are Brooklyn-bred, including many new groups and at least one blast from the past. Jade Starling, the ’80’s pop-sensation who did “Catch Me I’m Falling,” is slated to perform.

And as the sun sets, the annual Night Pride Parade, which will go from Bartel Pritchard Square up Seventh Avenue to Berkeley Street, will begin at 8:30 p.m. Last year, about 35,000 people participated, making it the second largest pride parade in New York.

“This year, of course, there’s lots to celebrate,” said Markowitz. “For one, our governor has made history by deciding to officially recognize same-sex marriages in New York, and Brooklyn is making great progress on getting a new Community Pride Center, which I am thrilled to support. These days, Brooklyn spells progress: L-G-B-T,” he said.

Markowitz recently helped create the Brooklyn Community Pride Center (BCPC), a local non-profit that started in February. Responding to a dearth of LGBT centers in the borough, Markowitz formed an organization to find members of the lesbian and gay community a place of their own.

The BCPC is just one of many groups throughout the city (and New Jersey) that will participate on Saturday.

But even now, there is electricity in the air as Brooklyn Pride gets ready for the festival.

“Ultimately, it’s about letting everybody know that we’re pretty much all the same and then educating them on any differences that may exist,” said Dejesus.

For more information on Brooklyn Pride, go to www.brooklynpride.org.

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