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Letter: Pride in west central Minn.

West Central MN Pride was started because no other organization existed in this area for the GLBT community. I, Jaime Gonzalez, am the president and Alana Ahlquist is our vice president. We started West Central MN Pride back in late April but the idea started long ago.

On June 12 we celebrated Pride Month by hosting our very first dance. Our event was a benefit for our local food shelf. We had just over 220 people come. I met many people from all over Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. We also had people from all walks of life. I was very happy to see that we also had very diverse age groups represented. Our performer, Monique Marquette, was gracious enough to donate her time and fly from Chicago to present an awesome show.

I had many people approach me and the members of West Central MN Pride that night and thank us for a delightful dance and for giving them the opportunity to be the first to celebrate pride in Willmar. Our DJ and his company, Music Vision, also made the night a huge success! We raised 277 pounds of food, $417 in cash and $100 in checks for the food shelf. We donated $794 to the food shelf on Monday morning. We are planning on hosting more events with our next one scheduled for Aug. 21.

I would personally like to thank all the businesses and individuals for their donations which raised a lot of money for our food shelf. I would also like to personally thank the other officers of West Central MN Pride who are Mari Mendoza, Michelle Skudlarek, Jesus Hernandez and Brent Roelofs. Lastly, I would like to thank all of our other members and fan base online and off for making West Central MN Pride a huge success! We hope to see you at our next event..

Jaime Gonzalez

President, West Central MN Pride