By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — June is Pride Month across the country and this year, Philadelphia Pride celebrates its 50th anniversary. While the city is home to some of the nation’s first gay rights protests, Pride didn’t start until a few years later, and it was only after the LGBT community said enough is enough.

While gay rights demonstrations at Independence Hall made history in the mid-’60s, it wasn’t until 1969 that Stonewall, a bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, grabbed national headlines.

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“Police came in and basically raided the bar and terrorized us,” Mark Segal said. “It was unlike anything anybody in the LGBT community had ever seen before. They’d smashed the doors, smashed things around, intimidated people, threw people up against the wall.

That raid led to several days of protests and violent clashes with police.

Segal was there.

Author and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, Segal says the raid was a catalyst and a call to action for what was up until then a largely invisible gay community.

“After Stonewall, we said no longer. We’re going to take pride in who we are, who our identity is, who our community is,” Segal said.

Proud that they had fought back and were a force to be reckoned with, they marked the one-year anniversary of Stonewall with a march.

“We marched over 50 blocks, across the city, thousands of us,” Segal said.

Two years later, Philadelphia followed suit.

“Anybody that wanted to march, if you took pride in who we were, in yourself and your community, we wanted you to march along,” Segal said.

Decades later, Pride is global.

“There are literally today thousands of cities in the world that have Pride and they all have them in one way, shape, or form, and they are all based on that very first one,” Segal said.

This year Philly’s march kicks off from Independence Mall on Sunday at 11 a.m. The festival begins at noon.

“In many ways, this year’s Pride will look like the ones from years past,” Segal said. “But there’s a new organization in town and they’re starting from the ground up and completely rethinking what Philly’s pride is.”

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“It feels like Christmas Eve before Christmas morning,” PHL Pride Collective Organizer Tyrell Brown said.

The jitters and anticipation as Pride come back to Philadelphia. Ashley L. Coleman, Brown and Maso Kibble are the faces behind this year’s celebration. But they’re hoping you bring the heart.

“Really peeling things back to the roots of what Pride was in 1972, and before that is the most important aspect,” Coleman said.

The last major Pride event in Philadelphia was back in 2019. There was a festive parade throughout the city’s Gayborhood that stretched for miles into Center City.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of the celebration in 2020 and 2021.

But also last year, the former organizer for Pride and Outfest, Philly Pride Presents, abruptly disbanded and shut down after running the parade for 28 years. Now, Philly Pride Collective is picking it back up with a new focus.

“Why not pick up that baton when it was dropped and start running with it and create what we all have wanted to see for so long?” Coleman said.

“We’ve engaged so many community-based organizations,” Kibble said. “So many small nonprofits, so many queer organizing groups, so many volunteers and even just community members who are like, ‘tell me where to go, what can I do, how can I help you?'”

The theme this year is “PHL Pride 50: Our Community, Our Joy.” They’re replacing the parade with a march through Center City, and there’s a festival in the city’s Gayborhood.

There will be a sober space, a youth and family area and a full celebration of the city’s Black and Brown communities.

“We want everyone to be seen and heard and felt throughout the festival and the march,” Coleman said.

“I really don’t think we’re actually going to get the entire breadth or depth of what we’ve done until we’re able to stare at this humungous crowd and go, we brought family back together,” Brown said.

They’re also organizing Outfest in October, rebranding it as “Ourfest.”

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CBS3’s Jim Donovan and Howard Monroe contributed to this report.