MODESTO (CNN Newsource) — A planned straight pride event in Modesto is set for this weekend — even though the city has said no.
Some in the community said they plan to protect their city from what they call a bigoted event — by holding a counter protest if that parade happens.
“We’re not going to be stopped by it in any way,” Don Grundmann said.
Grundmann is the founder of the national straight pride coalition.
He said a straight pride event is still on for Modesto despite being denied a permit by the city.
“We’re still going to have the event and have our first amendment rights expressed and get our views out,” he said. “And this is the first of many.”
Grundmann said he looks forward to exercising his right to free speech and assembly in an undisclosed public location in Modesto on Saturday.
“We’re going to have a parade,” he said. “And that’s going to be our primary mission is to have that parade in multiple outlets through the city. We’re just peaceful people walking down the street and in our in our country.”
He and his supporters have sparked backlash in recent weeks with critics calling them a hate group with a mission to divide and incite violence.
“Nor can it be taught torn by a handful of outsiders who have come to spread fear and intimidate the most vulnerable among us,” a counter protester said.
Dozens of people gathered before Modesto city hall Thursday pledging to counter protest any straight pride event that takes place this weekend.
“We’re just going to peacefully demonstrate,” the protester said. “Let them know that they’re not welcome here or try to drown them out.”
Even forming a group of their own called the Modesto nonviolent collective to stand up for values that they say better represent the city like inclusion peace and love.
“We do not want that to represent who we are,” the protester said. “We are trying to show the best side of who we are and Modesto is all about love and acceptance.”
On its website, the stated goals of the national straight pride coalition are to “defend heterosexuality, Caucasians, western civilization and to promote nationalism”.