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Inaugural Prattville Pride event featured on Good Morning America

The pride event brought more than 1,000 people to celebrate a year after a small pride picnic drew the attention of a white supremacist group.

Anna Evans, Adam Hunt and Caryl Lawson speak with Good Morning America about the inaugural Prattville Pride event. Video still via Good Morning America
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Good Morning America on Wednesday featured the founders of the inaugural Prattville pride event during a segment on first-time pride events in small towns across the U.S.

Prattville Pride drew more than a thousand people to Cooters Pond Park on Sunday in its debut, a year after the white supremacist group Patriot Front showed up to protest a pride picnic hosted by Wolf and Mercantile owner Anna Evans.

“There was absolutely no question in my mind that we had to continue doing this,” Evans told the GMA hosts. “Me and Caryl both own controversial businesses in the area and we face backlash a lot. So when we held the event last year and there was even more backlash, we saw that our community needed this even more so. It’s our mission … to create a safe space for everyone in our town and surrounding areas for sure.”

Lawson said creating a sense of community and belonging is especially important in the conservative south.

“It is so important, especially in today’s climate when our community is under attack, especially the trans community,” Lawson said. “So often people in our community feel isolated and othered.”

GMA revealed a special surprise for the trio, announcing that the non-profit LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD is honoring them with a special recognition trophy for their efforts to bring pride to the community.

Good Morning America also had a crew at the event Sunday filming and interviewing attendees.

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“This is awesome for our family ,” said Mandi Hall, who brought her family to the event. “This is something they’ve been looking for in our area for a long time. They were really, really excited to be able to come to their first pride event; and for it to be in our hometown was really something special.”

Patriot Front did not return for the larger pride event—reports from the event indicated only one protestor showed up. 

Prattville has been in the national spotlight recently for controversy at the Prattville library, where a policy had been enacted for months that banned LGBTQ books for minors. The situation escalated when the board terminated Director Andrew Foster for responding to a public record request from APR, leading to a protest from staff who were also subsequently fired or quit.

The library board ended the policy Monday amid a federal lawsuit, but enshrined support for the removal of LGBTQ books through internal rules for weeding materials.

The board must answer the original complaint by July 1. It is not yet clear how the plaintiffs in the case, which include Read Freely Alabama and the Alabama Library Association, will respond to the new policy changes.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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