Krishna Stone loves parades and rallies – so much so that she named her now-22-year-old daughter Parade.
“It’s all about those magnificent demonstrations of love and creativity in activism, the diversity of human beings that show up, the pain, the sorrow – it takes a lot of courage to march,” Stone said.
For nearly two decades, Stone, the director of community relations for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which provides HIV/AIDS advocacy, prevention and care, has acted as a volunteer announcer along the Pride March route. But this year, she’s putting down her microphone to stand alongside the American Civil Liberties Union, Brooke Guinan and Geng Le as the march’s co-grand marshals.
Metro: How does it feel to be a grand marshal this year?
Krishna Stone: It’s an extraordinary honor. I am very proud that I am representing GMHC and my volunteer work with other organizations that address women’s health, homeless LGBT youth, people of color. I’m just really thrilled to have this honor resonate that it’s all about community service.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen at the Pride March over the years?
For one thing, it’s huge! The diversity of the groups has increased, the inclusion of more corporations, communities. We’re seeing more medical facilities, more schools. Overall, we’re raising visibility about the various groups and also sending a very clear message that the work is not done to achieve equality for everyone.
To that end, is there a different feeling to Pride this year under the Trump administration?
The messages are even stronger around fighting for equality and social justice, whether it’s gun violence, fighting for the rights of people of color, LGBT youth, human rights in general — it’s a stronger presence of social justice messages.
What, to you, is the biggest issue facing the LGBTQ community under this administration?
I don’t think that there’s one, I think there’s many major issues such as equality, hate crimes, homophobia, high rates of HIV and AIDS, other health issues, work development, homelessness — there’s multiple issues that are major for the LGBT community.
What is your favorite part of the NYC Pride March?
My favorite part is just sending out love to thousands and thousands, if not millions, of people, whether they’re marching or on the sidelines cheering the marchers on and just sending out a lot of unconditional love. It’s an extraordinary feeling to send out all that love for six, seven hours.
As a grand marshal, that is what I will be doing — sending out a lot of love and just saying that we’re here to celebrate, we’re here to remind each other that the work is not done to fight for full equality.
NYC Pride March kicks off at noon Sunday at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street. For more info, visit nycpride.org.