Decked out in SUNY Pride t-shirts, 90 members of the Stony Brook community marched among the 32,000 participants in the New York City Pride Parade last weekend.

SBU students, faculty and alumni could be seen with more than 200 other representatives from across the SUNY system. A few Seawolves shared some of their favorite memories of the event with The Statesman via email.

Luis Tobon, Class of 2017 English Education major

The Marching Band has marched in the city before for the Columbus Day Parade, but Pride took the experience of marching in Manhattan to a whole new level! The emotion and excitement coming from the audience radiated to the band and you could see that everyone was having fun. It was such an invigorating environment. I barely felt the weight of my drum on my shoulders, until I took it off afterwards, that is. I hope we get to be part of this amazing experience again next year. It was a great opportunity and I’m glad I was there doing what I love [playing] in front of thousands of people celebrating and having fun.

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Katie Lankowicz, Class of 2016 Marine Science major

As a gay woman, I was overjoyed to get to participate in the parade and do my two favorite things at once: make music and be unabashedly myself. I had never been to NYC Pride before and I didn’t know what to expect, but there was so much energy in the crowd the whole way through. It was great to look around and see dozens of straight allies, fellow LGBTQ* people and even professors and deans from the university all wearing SUNY Pride shirts. It goes beyond just acceptance. It’s a celebration of being our best, truest, gayest selves.

Erynn McLeod, Class of 2017 Music major

That was the best pride I’ve ever been to. It’s a whole different experience being part of the parade as opposed to watching it. The crowd was so loving. At every street people would call you over to hug and kiss you. It made my heart happy to see so many different people coming together to celebrate love in all forms. At one point someone from the crowd with a shirt that read “f*** gender” screamed at me, pointed and said, “You go! You hold that banner! Yes!” I screamed back “I love you!” and it pretty much made my day.

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Jaclyn Lattanza, Class of 2015 Journalism major

The whole experience was awesome. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere was so uplifting and cheerful, it was hard not to smile and laugh. Everyone was so happy! It was amazing to see everyone come together to celebrate life and love. I had a blast marching with the band. My favorite part was rejoining the band, with some of my closest friends, as alumni. Marching down 5th Avenue with everyone cheering for us and singing along to our songs was a really cool experience. I am grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait for next year!

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