Rosalyn Colligan, 40, of Buffalo, was arrested early Sunday and charged with making terroristic threats in connection with Buffalo's Pride festival. She is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to return to court June 8. If convicted on the charge, Colligan faces a maximum of 7 years in prison.
Buffalo Police say it was residents who alerted them to the numerous threats she made on social media, including murder. With quick work, the annual Pride Fest uneventfully went from a long afternoon march down Elmwood Avenue from Buffalo State College and concluded with a massive picnic and party at Canalside into the evening.
"We can't have pride for some, without liberation for all."
It was a giant party, both with the multi-colored crowd of marchers and cheering fans on the Elmwood sidewalks and on the waterfront. Many of the marchers wore shirts carrying the names of their employers and often signs showing employer support for the entire Pride Festival. Others had stands or exhibits at Canalside during the party.
Rob Baird, director of fundraising and events for Evergreen Health and the Pride Center, said that was a key change this year.
"There are more and more corporate groups who want to show their support," Baird said. "We've got folks like M&T, who's our presenting sponsor, who are absolutely fantastic to work with. They're so supportive and generous and we've got so many other groups like that wanting to support us."
There was a hardcore political motive to the event. New York Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon marched, while many remembered the Stonewall Riots of 1969 when customers of a gay bar in Greenwich Village fought back against a police raid. Queers for Racial Justice Co-Founder Harper Bishop said things are better, but not yet good enough.
"We have a long way to go in our fight for justice and equality and if there is still legislation and things that need to be done and policies to be changed to actually ensure equity and justice for everyone in the LGBTQ community," Bishop said. "So a lot of our signs this afternoon point to the marginalization of LGBTQ members, trans and queer people of color, mostly, predominantly working class people who still don't have what they need."
The event was sponsored by the Pride Center and Evergreen Health and raises money for them. The concentration of people also allowed an array of different commercial and benefit groups to have a booth or a table to push their messages.
Isaac Stevens was at Canalside looking for more members for another LGBTQ tradition, the Queen City Softball League, with its 13 teams and 250 players.
"I feel like we're very important to the community because not only do we represent sports, but we represent the league as a whole," Stevens said. "We're not only LGBTQ, but we're everybody."