LOCAL NEWS: Wawa Welcome America Parade to Have First LGBT Float

Plus: The co-chairs for the National LGBT Task Force's "Creating Change" conference have been announced.

Wawa Welcome America logo

The LGBT float for the Wawa Welcome Forth of July Parade will include Mummers, local drag queens, and community leaders.

It’s been roughly 10 years since the LGBTQ community began to be openly included in the annual Wawa Welcome America Fourth of July Parade, but this year we will get our own float. Plans for the inclusion of a float came from Under the Sun Productions, which has worked with Wawa Welcome America in the past. But the most surprising support came from the Mummers — yes, the group that back in January offended a good chunk of the community. “This July 4, it’s even more important that not only do we have the Mummers close by, but that we celebrate inclusion, forgiveness and moving forward together as Philadelphians,” said openly gay Wawa Welcome America head Jeff Guaracino. Although Wawa Welcome America had a 50th Anniversary commemorative float reflecting on the LGBT civil rights movement last year, this is the first official designated float for the community expected to run annually. The float will be included in the “gay section” of the parade, which will feature local drag queen Brittany Lynn, the Lambda Car Club, Hegeman String Band and LGBT members of the networking club Rainbow Alliance. The Wawa Welcome America events are scheduled to run this year from June 27th through July 4th.

National LGBT Task Force’s “Creating Change” conference, coming to Philadelphia in 2017, announced its co-chairs.

“Creating Change,” a National LGBT Task Force conference coming to Philadelphia in 2017, recently revealed four co-chairs selected to help fund-raise, run subcommittees, and increase outreach and hospitality efforts:

  • Naiymah Sanchez, a trans Latina advocate and coordinator of the Trans-Health Information Project at GALAEI.
  • Aneesah Smith, a black queer scholar serving as the LGBTQA Services Coordinator at West Chester University.
  • Le Thomas, a black gay community leader and president of Philadelphia Black Pride.
  • Samantha Giusti, a lesbian activist and executive director of DVLF.

“I am thrilled the Task Force is bringing Creating Change to Philadelphia for the first time in its history,” said Giusti to G Philly. “I’m honored to have been selected as a co-chair and look forward to making sure our city and our vibrant LGBTQ community are showcased and engaged.” If you want to participate in a host committee for the January 2017 event, meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of each month; more information is available at creatingchange.org.