BILLINGS – Big Sky Pride held its annual Pride Parade in Billings on Saturday as part of its “We Believe in Magic” weekend.
Approximately 50 organizations and groups were registered to be in the parade that started at 11 a.m.
Around 2,500 people participated in the parade, according to Kev Hamm, the Big Sky Pride 2017 organizer.
Groups participating in the parade included volunteers from Wells Fargo, ACLU of Montana, Planned Parenthood of Montana, Dykes on Bikes Montana, the the Montana Human Rights Network, Montana State University, Montana Pride Foundation, Chicks with Sticks Drum Corp, PFLAG Butte, Billings DSA, Rainbow Coffee House and Grace United Methodist Church.
“If we are not visible, if we continue to remain invisible, we don’t matter,” said Hamm.
“We will lose our rights. We will become nothing, and that’s the thing. That’s what many of our enemies would like to do,” he said.
“They like to cut us down. They like to make us less than, and we need to stand up. What we do at Pride every year is we celebrate the wins that we’ve had,” Hamm said.
Following the parade, the Big Sky Pride Rally was held on the steps of the federal courthouse from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Guest speakers and community members, including spokespeople for Gov. Bullock and Sen. Tester, spoke at the rally.
Other speakers included Rep. Jessica Karjala, Billings City Council member Brent Cromley, Billings mayoral candidate Danielle Egnew, Rep. Kelly McCarthy, Tyler Starkweather and Kev Hamm.