Pride Month dinner fundraiser supports LGBTQ community

PFLAG of SCV Vice President Autumn Rich, right, sells raffle tickets at a PFLAG Pride fundraising event at Rustic Burger House in Valencia on Wednesday, 062321. Dan Watson/The Signal

Hundreds attended the LGBTQ+ fundraiser and pride celebration at Bridgeport Marketplace’s Rustic Burger House, which was decorated in Pride colors, Wednesday evening.  

The event, organized by PFLAG SCV, kicked off a series of events marking Pride Month in Santa Clarita, according to Finley Walker, president of the SCV LGBTQ Center. 

“We got a raffle going on. We’re selling yard signs. I’m a little frazzled right now just because … we did not expect this turnout,” he said. 

Walker, 20, said the LGBTQ community has received both a lot of “backlash” and support in Santa Clarita.  

“It’s just amazing to see the people turn up so we know what we’re fighting for isn’t pointless,” he said. “There are people here who want this to happen, and people who support everything that we’re working for.”


Rainbow flags hang on the railing as attendees order during PFLAG of SCV fundraising event held at Rustic Burger House in Valencia on Wednesday, 062321. Dan Watson/The Signal

Among the supporters who were present was Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda and his wife, Virginia. 

Miranda said he was the first member of the Santa Clarita City Council to proclaim June as Pride Month, which the city has recognized for three years as of this month.  

“We understand diversity, equity and inclusion, and we mean it,” said Miranda, who is a parent to a gay daughter. “We don’t just talk the talk. We walk the walk.” 

Nicole and Karen Bryden, longtime residents of Santa Clarita, were at Rustic Burger with their two children. 

Rustic Burger House owner Derrick Malec, center, welcomes Santa Clarita Mayor Bill Miranda, right, and his wife, Virginia, to the PFLAG Pride fundraising event held at Rustic Burger House in Valencia on Wednesday, 062321. Dan Watson/The Sign

“We are overwhelmed with the support of the community,” said Nicole Bryden. “We came out to show our support and help in any way that we possible could with moving Santa Clarita into an all-inclusive place.” 

Andrew Taban, a PFLAG SCV board member, said the celebration was an opportunity to bring the LGBTQ+ community together as the state reopens. 

“(We) wanted to make sure LGBTQ+ youth and the community felt that they could come together and get together with their families and allies and just enjoy one another and families and community,” Taban said. 

PFLAG SCV spent the entire day fundraising to support the SCV LGBTQ Center, seeing about 600 people throughout the day, including at a dance party following the dinner fundraiser. 

As part of the Pride Month celebration in Santa Clarita, the SCV LGBTQ Center is hosting a Skate with Pride event at Central Park Saturday evening. 

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