Santa Clarita roller skaters took to the Central Park basketball courts Saturday evening to support Santa Clarita’s LGBTQ community during Skate with Pride.
The Pride Month celebration – one of a series events held in Santa Clarita during the week – was the product of a collaboration between the SCV LGBTQ Center and Skating Mamas of SCV.
Dawn Walker leads the Skating Mamas of SCV – a private Facebook group with approximately 1,600 members – which has grown to include more than just moms, according to Walker.
“My biggest goal is to just bring awareness that there’s probably, we estimate 8,000 people in Santa Clarita that identify as LGBTQ, and then they all have friends and family,” said Walker, who was on her skates for the event. “There are a lot of people out here that have a reason to celebrate Pride in Santa Clarita and, you know, we’re finally really getting it going.”
Her son Finley, 20, leads the SCV LGBTQ Center. He said he suggested the collaboration that drew approximately 200 people, including many picnickers who weren’t ready to glide on the concrete just yet.
“I just went downstairs and she said it was a great idea,” Finley said, noting his mother recommended including Black Love Skate Crew, an event partner that supports the Black skating community. “The most important thing for this to me was for it to be for the community (and) for the community to have fun.”
Natalie Lloyd, of Santa Clarita, has joined Skating Mamas every Saturday since the group started in February. She said the collaboration between the skating group and the SCV LGBTQ Center makes sense.
“Openness is what this whole community is about, so not only does Skating Mamas bring love and peace as their main thing, but having the LGBTQ (community) involved, it’s like opening everyone’s doors,” Lloyd said. “No one feels left out.”
Saturday’s skating event was the year’s first for Miguel Marmito, of Santa Clarita. He learned about the event from his boyfriend.
“We are here to just meet local gay people who perhaps can be new friends,” he said.
Santa Clarita residents Jessica and Natta Saleekongprayoon and their 18-month-old daughter enjoyed the evening on their picnic blanket near the courts.
“I’m just excited to have this out in the community. I grew up here so it’s come a long way,” said Jessica Saleekongprayoon. “We want our daughter to be raised around people like ourselves, family like ourselves.”
Mindy McNevin and her husband and daughter were also picnicking close to the skaters. She said her daughter came out this year.
“We decided to support her in every way we could,” said McNevin, who moved to Santa Clarita from Minneapolis. “We decided that every chance we had to support this community and be a part of it, that we would take every opportunity.”