by Natalie Shinbaum, President, Temple Chai Temple Youth
This past April, I woke up bright and early on a Sunday morning to join my friends and congregation to march in the Phoenix Pride Parade. We all met at Temple Chai and rode a bus to Downtown Phoenix. I really didn’t know what to expect, but when we arrived, I was so glad I participated. It was an extraordinary event and heartwarming to support those who are close to me, including friends and family. It made the experience all the more special to be marching along side my Jewish community. We showed all those watching from the side that we, as Jews, fully support the LGBTQ+ community. It was a chance for us to dance, sing, and really see that love is love no matter what. I chose to march because now more than ever, we need to be connected and not divided. We need to stand strong against the hatred that is being thrown at people of different races, genders, and sexual orientations. We need to support the people who have been told that they are wrong just for simply being themselves. That Sunday, I really saw how much our support and love meant to everyone of that community. As a teenager today, sometimes I, as well as the people around me, feel that it can be a challenge to let ourselves be who we want to be. Even though most of us aren’t of age to vote yet, we can still do so much to make change in our own society. Marching in the Pride Parade was one way that I decided to try to make a change. Even when others try to push you down or make you feel small, just remember to stay strong, be brave, and show your pride.