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CNY officials mark the start of Pride month

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Common Councilor Jimmy Monto speaks during an event marking the start of Pride month.

Organizers said this year’s CNY Pride month will feature the biggest and best slate of activities ever. They said it’s more important now than ever for the community to come together.

Jimmy Monto, Syracuse’s first openly LGBTQIA+ common councilor, said a growing climate of hate towards the LGBTQIA+ community is something new to him.

"I am 48 years old," Monto said. "I have not seen this in my lifetime, in my out lifetime, since I came out at 21 years old, I’ve never been this worried about my community."

He’s concerned because of an increase in some forms of hate has become acceptable. So he said the message from all the CNY Pride events that dot the calendar this month, needs a big megaphone.

"Being who you are, being who wanna be, being what you feel in your heart is absolutely okay," Monto said. "And not only is it okay, we’re going to celebrate it. We’re going to celebrate that you’re going to live your life free and open to be who you are, and it’s very important."

Monto said now is not the time for complacency in hateful or discriminatory actions.

"When you begin to attack those of us who have the softest voice, the rest of us who have a louder voice, tend to come to the rescue of those people," Monto said. "And this community has always been like that, although we’ve been complacent at times. This is not one of those times, complacency is out the window.”

CNY Pride festivities kick off Friday with a flag raising at Syracuse City Hall, and include Pride events at breweries, baseball fields and concert halls. The highlight is the Pride Festival at Syracuse’s Inner Harbor June 10. Monto said there will be added security at the event.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.