A newly formed, LGBTQ non-profit group, Pride of Ellensburg (POE) will host the Ellensburg Pride Parade and Festival, in downtown Ellensburg, WA, on June 4, 2016. Pride of Ellensburg was formed in conjunction with, and is a partner project of its financial sponsor, CascadiaNow!. Working together, CascadiaNow! is a grassroots, umbrella 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides resources and direct services to groups, projects and community partners to raise awareness of Cascadia; celebrate the distinct regional identity and culture, and increase the autonomy of the Cascadia bioregion – socially, economically and environmentally.
POE’s primary function will be planning, funding and hosting the annual Ellensburg Pride Parade and Festival, as well as other LGBTQ events through its newly formed partnership with the Out in Ellensburg events series as well as seminars and workshops put on year-round for the community. Pride of Ellensburg is a non-profit, community organization dedicated to inspiring and celebrating love, equality and diversity through local events, outreach and fostering opportunity. Pride of Ellensburg is responsible for the signature Ellensburg Pride Festival and Parade.
Pride of Ellensburg elected their executive board that include:
President Neil Lequia began his activism work 10 years ago when he was on GLSEN’s (The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) National Student Organizing Leadership Team. Currently, Neil is GLSEN Washington State’s Regional Director of Central Washington, organizing safe space events for students, and setting up and maintaining Gay/Straight Alliances and other diversity and inclusion clubs on school campuses. In San Diego, Neil developed and taught the curriculum for Gender Performance Art at the Hillcrest Youth Center. Neil also sang with the Seattle Men’s Chorus for three years, and the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus for six years. Since moving to Ellensburg, Neil’s revived Out in Ellensburg, a local LGBT social group, and created similar groups in Yakima, Wenatchee and Spokane.
Vice President Nikki Marra is a Broadcast Media Professional by trade and a Queer Rights activist at heart. Nikki is a New Jersey native who found her way to Ellensburg via Hawaii, London and Philadelphia. She is the professional Program Director for KCWU-FM, holds a master’s degree in Radio Broadcasting, served on the board of directors for National College Radio Day and speaks at several conferences around the country about the medium. Nikki has been active in Queer Rights groups in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania before moving to Washington, where she currently is the faculty advisor for Equality through Queers and Allies (EQuAl), Central Washington University’s student LGBTQIA+ organization, and Chair of CWU Pride.
Treasurer Nate Snelson is a 20-year veteran in Queer Advocacy starting in grassroots LGBTQ organizations in the 90s where he worked for basic LGBTQ human rights in the U.S. Over his career as an accountant and senior financial specialist he has worked on Global Diversity & Inclusion programs at the corporate level bringing Equality programs and visibility to countries where it is either illegal or dangerous to be an LGBTQ individual. Recently, Nate left the corporate environment to do more hands on advocacy work for the Gender & Sexual Minority community as Managing Partner at Mind the Village Advocacy Group.
Secretary Tiffany Metzger is the proud mother of children who identify as members of the LGBTQ community. She is a student of Anthropology at Central Washington University with a focus in learning about family groups. Tiffany was a Sergeant in the U.S. Army where she served a tour in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tiffany’s experience as a mother and travels around the world have shown her that love is the most important force in the world.
Public Relations Lead Alexander Wollaston is a current undergraduate at Central Washington University studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Event and Tourism Management. This is Alex’s second year as the Assistant Manager of the Kittitas County Farmers Market located in Ellensburg, WA. He also participates with CWU’s EQuAL by helping build campus LGBTQ events.
POE will partner with the Ellensburg Downtown Association, Central Washington Arts Confab and CWU Pride, as well as local businesses and other non-profit organizations, to host the this annual LGBTQ celebration. A morning Pride parade through town is scheduled and all day Pride festival will take place at the Rotary Pavilion, downtown. Organizations, vendors, food, art, and live entertainment will highlight a family-friendly day dedicated to celebrating Ellensburg’s LGBTQ community and allies.
Ellensburg Pride is a shared experience meant to inspire and celebrate the Pride we carry in ourselves, in each other, and our community. POE is currently seeking Parade submissions, vendors and organizations for the festival, financial support and volunteers for a variety of functions and duties between now and June 4.