Initially the proposal was denied, but the tenacity of the community prevailed.
Students who challenged a Mississippi town board who denied them approval of a Pride parade have prevailed as the board has reversed its decision.
In February, the small town of Starkville and its Pride organizers asked the Board of Alderman for a permit to hold a festival which also included a Pride parade according to New Now Next.
They assured the committee that everything had been neatly planned, even down to the security detail. The majority of the town including its Mayor Lynn Spruill was not in opposition.
Spruill said it would, “show an inclusiveness in our community,” but the request was still denied with a 4-3 vote.
Reportedly there was no reason given for the denial.
College student and Pride co-founder Bailey McDaniel said, “We wanted to have a day of celebration and inclusiveness.” He adds, “without explanation or warning, a whole community of people have been denied their constitutional rights.”
The story made national headlines and students threatened an ACLU lawsuit which may have encouraged board member Richard Little to retract his “nay” vote to one of abstention.
This change meant there was a tie which Mayor Spruill broke by voting in favor of the celebration.
“I believe the city of Starkville’s interests are better served in moving forward beyond this,” said Little.
Roberta Kaplan, who represented the students said in part, “we do not restrict a person’s ability to speak based on whether or not we agree with what they have to say.”
Starkville will hold its Pride parade on March 24. A GoFundMe page was set up to help get sponsors.