The first-ever “Roll On With Muskegon Pride” will take place Thursday, June 25 at 7pm, when colorfully-decorated bicycles will take to our neighborhood streets for an event that’s meant to celebrate Muskegon’s LGBTQIA+ community, break down barriers, and build new relationships.
The Muskegon Pride Center and Roll On Muskegon are hosting the bicycle ride, which is free and open to everyone. (Though there is limited space, so you’re asked to email City of Muskegon Commissioner Michael Ramsey at email@example.com to reserve a spot.) The ride will start from the Muskegon Farmers Market (242 W. Western Ave.), make its way throughout city streets, and end at the Farmers Market. The ride will practice social distancing guidelines, and bicyclists should wear masks.
“This is really about community,” said Ramsey, one of the event organizers. “I think when we talk about Pride, people think that Pride is about a night at the bar or is only for gay people, but it’s not. It’s about the LGTBQIA+ population being able to share our lives with other people. It’s about us meeting people we didn’t know before. While it’s a Pride-centric event, it really is about building relationships and bringing together organizations like Roll On and the Pride Center.”
This June—which is Pride Month—marks the 50th anniversary of annual LGBTQIA+ Pride traditions. The first Pride march was held in New York City on June 28, 1970, the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. In June of 1969, police violently raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, but bar patrons and supporters, angered by a long history of harassment and criminalization of the gay community, fought back in an effort that inspired our modern-day LGBTQIA+ rights movement.
As part of the Roll On With Muskegon Pride event, bicyclists will be able to connect with the Muskegon Pride Center, which was established to “promote tolerance and acceptance throughout the community and provide a safe, non-judgmental network of support and resources for LGBT+ individuals who share a common vision of social equality,” a press release about the ride stated. Roll On Muskegon is a community group that regularly organizes bicycle rides throughout Muskegon neighborhoods.
After taking off from the Muskegon Farmers Market, riders will make a pit stop about halfway through the ride at McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm. There, they’ll enjoy some light refreshments while learning about the urban farm, which is operated by the nonprofit Community enCompass and is located at the corner of Hoyt Street and East Larch Avenue.
“We’ll learn about all the great things happening there,” Ramsey said.
Individuals with mobility issues are also invited to join the ride, and David Ramos of Ramos & Sons Auto Body will offer rides on the “people mover,” a tram that you’ve likely seen at downtown events and at the Muskegon Farmers Market. Ramsey said there will be a tram at both the front and back of the group of bicyclists, which riders will be able to get on if they are tired or hurt. Throughout the ride’s course, neighbors are encouraged to take to their porches to cheer on the bicyclists.
With the launch of the bicycle ride, Ramsey said he hopes it will inspire future Pride programming in Muskegon.
“I think there’s an opportunity with this event to show interest [in future Pride events],” Ramsey said. “Because of the relationships formed this year, maybe next year there will be a bike ride that ends in a picnic, or maybe there will be an actual parade.”
For more information about the Roll On With Muskegon Pride, please click here. To connect with Commissioner Michael Ramsey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To connect with the Muskegon Pride Center, contact Hannah Vela by messaging the center on Facebook. To reach Roll On Muskegon, connect with Ray McLeod on the Roll On Muskegon’s Facebook page.