WHS celebrates Pride Month with Chalk the Walk event

Chalk the Walk event on June 3 at WHS (Photo Ryan J. Karlin)

On June 3, No Place For Hate (NPFH) held a Chalk the Walk event outside of the main doors of WHS to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month.

LGBTQ+ pride month is celebrated nationwide with various events in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. According to usatoday.com, “For decades, Pride Month has been celebrated in June across the United States. Festivities, parades and events have been thrown to honor LGBTQ+ voices and experiences, but also to draw attention to the issues members of the community still face.”

Organized by the LGBTQ+ subcommittee of NPFH, the Chalk the Walk event was open to all who wanted to come celebrate pride month with their community. Event goers drew with chalk in the colors of the various pride flags. Drawings included the pride flag itself and messages such as ‘love is love’, ‘make love not war’ and ‘happy pride.’ 

Those attending the event were encouraged to wear pride colors, which many followed by wearing expressive outfits. Many attendees also brought pride flags to wave as they took part in the festivities. 

“I am psyched about this event…I think a big part of pride month is celebrating LGBTQ+ joy, and obviously there is a lot of joy here today,” said junior Bella Jarecki.

Organizers of the event cited the rainbow crosswalks in downtown Westfield as inspiration. The crosswalks, made permanent in 2021, are part of a growing push by Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle’s administration and members of the community to increase inclusion and acceptance in Westfield. 

In reference to the inspiration of the downtown crosswalks NPFH Advisor Kimberly Leegan said, “Ideally we would love some day to maybe have one of our crosswalks around the building permanently changed [to LGBTQ+ pride colors] as well, but for this year we’re starting with the chalk.” 

The LGBTQ+ subcommittee of NPFH, composed of students only, organized and planned the Chalk the Walk event. Event organizers, freshmen Olivia Gaffney and Grace Malanowski, spoke to Hi’s Eye in an exclusive interview. 

“We wanted to have an opportunity for the students to come together and celebrate pride month in a way that accepts everyone, that people can be creative and people can express themselves no matter who they are,” said Gaffney. “We thought this would be a great way to bring the community together and for everyone to feel represented,” added Malanowski. 

The event was attended by a number of people including many WHS teachers and staff who came to support the cause. 

“I heard about it on the announcements and wanted to come be a part of it,” said French Teacher Meri Ling. She added, “I think it’s really important to support the whole community…so it’s nice to be here in support of everyone.” 

This event is the most recent of many events centered around inclusion and diversity held by NPFH this year. A relatively new organization formed in 2019, No Place For Hate has become a presence in the school community proclaiming that WHS is truly no place for hate. 

Event attendee, freshman Megan Wilson said, “I really adore how people are starting to take notice of this [pride month]. This is a way to express myself through art and who I really am as a person.”