Jamaica Plain resident Henry Paquin has been a longtime volunteer for Boston Pride. Boston Pride Week 2017 will kick-off with the Pride flag raising on City Hall Plaza on June 2 and continue with events throughout the week, concluding with the annual Boston Pride Parade and Festival on June 10 and the Pride Block Parties on June 11 in the Back Bay and Jamaica Plain. Boston Pride provided a Q&A with Paquin.
Q: What is your involvement with Boston Pride?
Paquin: I am involved on the committee level. I am currently the chairperson for two events that Boston Pride puts on, PrideDay at Faneuil Hall on June 3rd and our new fundraising event for the Boston Pride Community Fund called the High Heel Dash for Charity, which is also on June 3rd.
Q: How long have you been volunteering?
Paquin: I have been involved with Boston Pride for about six years now.
Q: What originally brought you to Boston Pride?
Q: I joined Boston Pride because I wanted to give back to my community somehow and I had a desire for event planning but I needed to learn about it. I thought Boston Pride would be a great place to learn about event planning. I was welcomed with open arms and I quickly asked to help with the Boston Pride Royal Pageant. I took on this event and revamped it a little and it is currently still a flagship event for Boston Pride. I also was involved in starting the Latino Pride Committee and Youth Committee with Boston Pride, and Pride Day at Faneuil Hall.
Q: What is the best thing about being involved with Boston Pride?
Paquin: People always ask me is Pride still needed and my answer is always ‘YES!’ It is always someone’s first pride. We all remember how it felt when you first came to a pride event and you could be yourself and you can see others like you and you knew you were not alone. I work so hard on Boston Pride and cherish the work I do for Boston Pride because to see the faces of the young people attending their first pride has stuck with me and is the reason why I continue the work I do with Boston Pride.
Q: Do you have a special memory of something that you have worked on in past Prides that you would like to share?
Paquin: As I said before, “It’s always someone first pride.” When I was planning the first ever Boston Pride’s Youth Dance in the Boston City Hall, I was able to allow a young person the chance to perform live in drag for the first time and if you could see the excitement, it would stay with you as it has with me. I think it’s important to teach our youth to be proud of who they are regardless of who they are.
Q: What is your “day job”?
Paquin: My “day job” is an administrative coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at UMass Boston. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is charged with strengthening the university tradition of diversity by developing and implementing a strategic and integrated approach to advancing a university-wide climate that respects, values, and supports the academic, social, and personal development of diverse faculty, staff and students.
For more information about Boston Pride, please visit bostonpride.org.