COLORADO SPRINGS — As Pride Month events across the U.S. were canceled out of COVID-19 concerns, a group of about 200 people gathered in downtown Colorado Springs to honor the LGBTQ community and show their support for ongoing protests related to Black Lives Matter.
Protesters met in Acacia Park on Sunday starting at 11:00 a.m. There will be several speakers and a performance at the location before the group marched to the steps of city hall.
Our Photojournalist Patrick "Juice" Godfrey is with the demonstration now and is covering the event on his Instagram account - @photojuicenews5
There is another event taking place in downtown Colorado Springs across the street from Acacia Park. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin is leading this event aimed at drawing attention to protecting our nation's history. Attendees are carrying American flags and chanting "USA, USA, USA."
June 14 marks Flag Day and the date the US Army was formed in 1775.
As News5's Renae Skinner reported earlier this month, while our nation is taking a hard look at itself in regards to race relations, recent data shows the LGBTQ community still faces discrimination, especially teens.
According to the Trevor Project's 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ issues, 71% of youth reported discrimination, due to either their sexual orientation or gender identity.
One local activist says the pandemic has forced a lot of LGBTQ teens into isolation. Their parents may not know they're gay, or may not be accepting, and therefore they're stuck at home, not able to be themselves.
That's why Joseph Shelton, a local activist, decided to start a Facebook page where you can adopt an LGBTQ teen.
"We are making a community that tells youth that you are loved for who you are," Shelton explained. "We want to let them know that no one is turning away from them and we are still with them no matter what," he said. "
Shelton says the teens names are kept anonymous to protect their identity. Parents and guardians can even nominate their child to be adopted through the Facebook page.
Shelton told News5, our stat has come a long way on LGBTQ issues, but there's still work to be done.
"We still have a community to build up, and we still have many targets painted on our backs like many other communities do," Shelton said. "It's just time that we all stand up rise up and push back."
News5's Spencer Humphery talked with protesters on Sunday about the shared history between the LGBTQ people and people of color.
"It's a case of because they stood up for us, we should stand back up for them as well," said protester.
Though the support for Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community continued over the weekend, Sunday included two separate protests.
Many conservatives gathered in support of the city and to express their frustrations with the destruction of property due to protests.
"You had people on the loose over the last couple weeks in Colorado, who were spray painting the statue of a union general who dedicated his life to fighting oppression and slavery," said local conservative.
While these groups were out supporting different causes, they share the common interest of peaceful disagreement and peaceful debate. Understanding that American citizens have their right to free speech, both groups agreed on accepting these differences.
For more information on the Facebook page, click here.