South Georgia Pride reflects on Stonewall, Pulse

Phelan M. Ebenhack | Associated Press In this June 12, 2016 file photo, an Orlando, Fla., police officer directs family members away from a mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead. A community picnic remembering the Pulse shooting is hosted by South Georgia Pride, 2-6 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at John W. Saunders Memorial Park. 

VALDOSTA – The 1969 Stonewall Inn riots in New York, an event chronicled as the driving force behind gay rights organizations, will be remembered at an upcoming community picnic. 

The picnic is hosted by South Georgia Pride 2-6 p.m. Saturday, June 29, in John W. Saunders Park. 

“(Stonewall Inn) is the foundation and starting point for Prides across America,” Christian Benoit, South Georgia Pride executive director, said. “People decided enough was enough.”

According to the History Network, the Stonewall riots in New York City resulted from the arrests of 13 people during a police raid of the “gay bar.”

Benoit said, back then, it was illegal to have a gay bar.

South Georgia Pride will also remember the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting during which 49 people were killed in Orlando, Fla.

“It’s a part of our history, now, and it was a tragic loss to the U.S. and the LGBT community,” Benoit said of the Pulse shooting.

LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

The picnic also recognizes June as National LGBT Pride Month and commemorates South Georgia Pride’s 10th anniversary.

The picnic’s theme is Love Tears Down Walls, meaning love overpowers barriers and social issues, he said.

Guests will receive information about volunteering for South Georgia Pride.

“We kind of let the community know that we’re here to help support them, to be that liaison; and in the future, as South Georgia Pride, we want to be able to provide resources to the community,” Benoit said.

During the free community event, there will be a pound cake bake-off and a Kid’s Zone. There will also be free food, games and entertainment.

Call (706) 373-3002, or visit, for more information. 

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