Parents 4 Pot Goes to Pride!
By P4P Treasurer, Anna Diaz
For the first time, Parents 4 Pot was at the Pride Parade in Portland, Oregon on June 16, 2019. The mission – free hugs! The morning was a little cool and overcast, as it often is in the Pacific Northwest. Downtown was already abuzz well before the scheduled parade time of 11:00 am. The turnout was incredible! Thanks to one of our great supporters, Rafael Martinez, we were able to park close by but still out of the way. The Hotel Rose, a staypineapple hotel, donated water and ice for us to keep in the booth. Rafael works there, and when he told them what we had planned, they were thrilled to support us. They offered to provide even more support next year; we may be able to get a booth at the Pride Festival for the entire event! We are so grateful to Rafael and the Hotel Rose and look forward to a larger presence next year. We had t-shirts for Mom Hugs, Dad Hugs and hugs from brothers and sisters as well. Kyle at Eski Designs waived the screen fee for all three designs as his generous donation to our project. We will be back for more next year! We set up our booth along the sidewalk at the end of the parade and posted ourselves at the corner where the marchers finished. The excitement became electric as revelers made their way down the street to cheers of support. The response we received was beyond anything we had imagined. So many hugs were given out to such a large variety of people; it was amazing! There were 174 different marching groups and floats, making for a very long parade! We hugged police officers, fire fighters, teachers, religious group members and workers from every trade union. We hugged beautiful drag queens and transsexuals, bears and bikers. There was even a group dressed up like dogs with their masters in the most richly crafted masks and leathers that barked with joy when we hugged them. All were well represented! Some marchers ran into our arms; some were shy, and some hung on so tight and so long that they lost their places in the parade. One of us almost got dragged down the street when the hugger from a car just couldn’t let go. Through the tears and laughter, our message was nothing but love and acceptance for all. Mitch, one of the Dads who brought his kids, told about a young woman who said that she never had a Dad or a Dad Hug in her life. That was a very special first hug for her and a memorable moment for Mitch! Even though our encounters were brief, they were emotional and left an indelible mark on our hearts. Each of us who participated had special moments that will be long-remembered. We look forward to doing it again next year. Won’t you join us?