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By Scott Roberto / June 1, 12:00 AM
Linda DeMarco of Boston Pride


Linda DeMarco is a very busy woman. In addition to her role as the owner of Boston Pretzel at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and her involvement with the Merchants Association there and the Small Merchants Association of Downtown Crossing, she is, as president of the Boston Pride board of directors, gearing up for that organization’s many events that traditionally take place in June. The road to that position began back in 1998, when she began soliciting donations for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force after concerns arose that the LGBTQIA+ workers at Faneuil Hall Marketplace were being taken advantage of by the pushcart managers. “I became a volunteer for Boston Pride and a few years later was a member of the board leadership, becoming vice president and then president.”


This spring’s slate of Boston Pride gatherings, both online and in person, boasts the theme of "The Rainbow After the Storm,” which, according to DeMarco, “reflects on the past year being one of major pain, sorrow and upheaval in our community and the world as a whole. It represents an opportunity to come together again, and support each other in healing from the events of the past year, and in committing to continuing to work as a community toward acceptance, justice and understanding.”


Although many Boston Pride touchstones have gone virtual and staple celebrations like the Pride Parade have been postponed, there are still many happenings over the next several weeks, including Pride Illumination, a dazzling, month-long display of rainbow colors on many local landmarks, and Pride Night @ Fenway Park on June 10. One such event—Pride Lights on June 8, which illuminates Blackstone Square Park in the South End to commemorate those living with, and lost to, the HIV/AIDS epidemic—has a deeply personal connection to DeMarco. “Pride Lights is near and dear to my heart because I lost many friends to HIV/AIDS,” she states. And speaking of anticipation, given the recent news of pandemic restrictions being lifted in Massachusetts, DeMarco is most looking forward to returning to longtime hangout Club Café in the Back Bay, as well as LGBTQIA+ meet-ups. “Plus, I can't wait to see the world-famous street performers back at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and also visit stores in Downtown Crossing.” 


As to what the future holds for Boston Pride, DeMarco reveals that some changes have been in the works over the past year. “Boston Pride has been working on transforming the organization and transitioning to new leadership to be better representative of our community. We want to ensure that Boston Pride's mission and vision is in alignment with BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community. We are hopeful that the work we are doing will build a better Boston Pride and a new generation of leaders.”

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