“Bigger.Better.Bolder:” Second-Annual Jamaica Pride Celebration a Success

Last Sunday, Jamaica culminated its second-annual LGBT Pride with a family picnic on the beach. Members of the LGBT community, activists, and allies gathered last week for a series of events under the theme of “The Pride of a People: Celebrating a Community of Love.” From an LGBT sports day to a family symposium to an event that fed over 5,000 Jamaicans across the island, the week highlighted the diverse talents and contributions of Jamaica’s LGBT community and underscored the strength of the movement to advance equality.

A number of U.S. leaders praised Jamaican activists and wished the LGBT community happy pride. Ambassador Susan Rice, White House National Security Advisor, highlighted her recent meeting with a Jamaican activist:

Susan Rice @AmbassadorRice: “Inspired to have recently met with a young Jamaican LGBT activist–so pleased to wish the community a Happy Pride! #PRiDEJA2016

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power congratulated the community on its second public celebration:

Samantha Power ‏@AmbassadorPower: “Happy #Pride to all celebrating #PRiDEJA2016. Last year was 1st public #LGBTI pride in #Jamaica–congrats on year 2!”

The U.S. Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry highlighted the shared values of the United States and Jamaica:

Randy Berry ‏@RandyBerry: “Congrats to #Jamaicans celebrating #PrideJA2016. Equality & #HumanRights unite us, especially during this period of Emancipendence. #LGBTI

Several celebrities and public figures of Jamaican descent also expressed their support and highlighted the work of local activists. On Day 1, supermodel Naomi Campbell expressed her admiration for the efforts of Jamaican activists:

Naomi Campbell ‏@NaomiCampbell: “Happy Pride, Jamaica! I so admire the work #LGBT Jamaicans are doing to advance human rights and equality #PRiDEJA2016

Jamaican author Nicole Dennis-Benn shared her hope for positive change in Jamaica:

Nicole Dennis-Benn‏@ndennis_benn: “Happy #PRiDEJA2016 !! So thrilled to see us trying to move in the right direction for #lgbt rights in #Jamaica ! #onelove4real

The U.S. Embassy in Kingston also expressed support, lighting up in rainbow colors to honor the celebration. Countless other voices from around the world joined inThe international support elevated the efforts of local activists and highlighted their contributions to the global movement for the rights of LGBT people.

These activists work in a challenging climate. LGBT Jamaicans face homophobia and transphobia in their daily lives. A colonial-era sodomy law breeds a permissive climate for violence and discrimination. But last week’s celebration is a meaningful illustration of the power of the movement for full equality and inclusion. “Bigger.better.bolder” was the tagline for this year’s pride.Throughout the week, LGBT Jamaicans highlighted the unity, strength, and love that boldly propels their work forward and cements their important place in the global movement to advance the human rights of LGBT people.

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Published on August 12, 2016

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