Board to lead New Britain’s first gay pride parade

Redding’s John Board, 23, will be leading New Britain’s first-ever Gay Pride Parade.

Redding’s John Board, 23, will be leading New Britain’s first-ever Gay Pride Parade.

Redding resident John Board would like to bring awareness to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and for that reason, he said he’s thrilled to get the chance to lead New Britain’s first-ever gay pride parade.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart appointed Board, 23, to lead the parade, which will take place in June of 2018, during Gay Pride Month.

Board, a graduate of Joel Barlow High School and political science major at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, got to know Stewart in 2016 after he interned with her through WestConn’s Career Success Center Program.

He said he first thought of the idea of holding a Pride parade when he was at the New York City LGBT Pride March in June.

“I thought New Britain is the right city at the right time to host an event like this. First, the city has a very young mayor and there is a new energy here,” he said. “Also, New Britain is going through a revitalization — there is a whole bunch of new businesses downtown.”

“John Board was a very enthusiastic intern here in the Mayor’s office. I am not surprised that his passion is the driving force behind the Pride celebration in 2018. I fully support his efforts,” Mayor Erin Stewart said. “This, much like many other private initiatives around our city, make New Britain a welcoming place to live.”

Aside from planning the parade, Board is also starting a nonprofit organization called New Britain Pride.

New Britain Pride is a nonpartisan community organization whose goal is to spread understanding and advocate for the LGBT community through Pride celebrations, advocacy and education,” he said. “We are planning about 10 different events through Pride — everything from a celebration at AW Stanley Park to teaming up with New Britain’s baseball team — the New Britain Bees — to host a Pride-themed game. Ticket proceeds would go to charity.”

While New Britain Pride is still in its early planning stages, Board said on social media, more than 600 people have already reached out to him about it.

He added that he hopes the New Britain Pride parade has a  community feeling to it, yet still have some elements of the New York Pride march in it.

“We will reach out to all the major cities to take part because June is traditionally the month of Pride,” Board said.

To help fund the march, Board will be relying upon fund-raising and donations.

“We really hope this whole thing comes through with a lot of community support,” he said.

Board said he views his role as chairman of the parade as not to be involved in every little detail of  it.

“Going back to my Eagle Scout days, when you are the manager of a project, you have to place some trust and faith in your team,” said Board, who is an Eagle Scout with Troop 15 in Redding.

He said that so far, he has formed a committee of about nine people to work on New Britain Pride. Board said, “We will transition over to form an executive board with committees and a traditional leadership structure.”

Aside from his new role in New Britain, Board wears many hats around Redding and beyond.  He is park and recreation commissioner for Redding, as well as a member of its Republican Town Committee. He also serves as membership representative at the Wilton YMCA.

He said that Pride isn’t about politics. Instead, “It’s about building community — not only in New Britain but across the state.

“In the age of Trump, people have politicized everything, but honestly, some things are just blatantly not political and people should not be arguing over them,” he said.

Board said while he is aware he has a big job ahead of him, he feels confident. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge but I’m up to it.”

For more information on New Britain Pride, visit https://www.facebook.com/NewBritainPride.

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  • scott555

    Really??? How about just a Parade?

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