COLUMBUS — This weekend, thanks to a high school student’s organizing efforts, there’s going to be a pride festival in Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown.
Erin Bailey plans to close off a part of 4th Street for her festival.
People from across the country have noticed, including some in Pence’s office.
Rainbow s’mores, music and a drag show are all on the agenda for Bailey’s pride festival on Saturday. It’s the teenager’s senior project as she prepares to graduate from Columbus Signature Academy.
“Everyone’s really supportive,” said Bailey. “There have been a few people commenting on stuff that are kind of rude, but for the most part, they’re all really positive comments.”
Another positive voice is Erin’s mentor, Jill Tasker, who is the president of the Pride Alliance in Columbus.
“She is so hands on,” said Tasker. “She is such a force. This is her project.”
Bailey identifies as bisexual and considers herself an advocate for women’s rights and the LGBT community. Since her hometown is the same as Pence’s, she says that’s one more reason to put all this together.
“Even though this is where he’s from, it doesn’t mean all of us in the community have the same views as him,” said Bailey.
She tweeted at Pence and even got a response from his office, saying he commended her for her youth activism and interest in politics.
“That was crazy, but it was nice,” said Bailey.
She’s also earned the attention of students from Parkland, Florida who became activists after a school shooting there. Regardless of the other attention, the message for this weekend is all about love.
“It’s about celebrating inclusion,” said Tasker. “It’s about welcoming everyone in the community regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”