She wanted to go to a Pride Parade, but many were cancelled or virtual this year. So, she and her mom planned a .8 mile walking parade in Alger Heights.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — 12-year-old Claire Kotarski had wanted to go to a Pride parade with her friends this year. However, many were cancelled or shifted virtual due to the pandemic. 

So, she and her mom planned a small, .8 mile walk around their Alger Heights neighborhood, as a Pride parade of their own.

“Pride is being accepted for whoever you are,” said Claire, “and whoever you love and care about.”

Claire’s mom, Lisa Kotarski, shared the event with her friends and online. Soon, interest for the event grew. 

“It’s exciting!” said Claire, “Like, all these people are excited to do this event with us.”

The parade begins at 7pm on June 18. They are meeting at the corner of Blaine and Nevada, decked out in colorful costumes, decorations, and of course, lots of rainbows. 

For Claire at 12-years-old, she is still figuring out who she is. However, her mother is proud she trusts her as a parent, as she navigates her young life. 

“I just want her to know she can be whoever she wants to be,” said Lisa Kotarski, “and love whoever she wants to love.”

Claire said she is most excited to see some of her friends from school at the parade, but she also wants to show her neighbors she cares about them. 

“Because we’re all humans,” said Claire, ‘No one should be left out for who they love and care about.”

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