San Pedro celebrates first-ever LGBTQ pride festival aboard USS Iowa

SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KABC) -- For the first time ever, San Pedro is hosting a LGBTQ pride festival.

"The larger prides are great and a lot of fun to go to, but we deserve on own pride," said Aiden Garcia-Shefflied, President and Founder of Pride on the Port of Los Angeles.

Garcia-Sheffield spearheaded the event with Bridge Cities Alliance after he helped organize the inaugural raising of the LGBTQ pride flag in June 2018 at San Pedro's Welcome Park. From inception, the flight attendant and barber knew he wanted to host the event on the waterfront, and a San Pedro staple seemed like the perfect spot.

"My grandfather was a gunner's mate in WWII, so I have a strong affection for the military and the ship. So I thought, why don't we just have it on the IOWA?" said the flight attendant and barber.

President of Battleship USS Iowa, Jonathan Williams, also comes from a military family. Williams said he receives a lot of questions as to why San Pedro's first pride festival is being held aboard the naval ship.

"This is a symbol of American ideals and American freedom. It fought for rights of all Americans," said Williams. "It's really sad that Americans have a fear that allows them to ask those questions because something like this makes it so we can live a life like this today, free from hate."

Pride on the Port of Los Angeles will take place on Saturday, June 15. For more information on the event, visit their website.
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