Carroll Report Maryland Muckraker

Muckraker: Sykesville “filled with immense pride” during 4th of July weekend parade

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Sykesville ‘Let Freedom Ring Parade’ on Saturday July 1st

Addressing families & on-lookers with a microphone in hand, Mayor Stacy Link said Sykesville was “filled with immense pride” during the small town’s ‘Let Freedom Ring Parade’ at Main Street on Saturday July 1st. It was the second year in a row the much publicized LGBT Mayor invoked the progressive buzzword during the annual parade meant to celebrate the American revolution.

It came just one day after what was an eventful pride month (June) for the small town named one of America’s coolest.

Storefront pride during 4th of July parade

Downtown Sykesville Connection, the town’s historic preservation & tourism non-profit, announced on June 1st it partnered with Taneytown artist Lisa Walters to paint pride & progress themed designs on the storefronts of 14 participating local businesses, including regionally renown restaurant Sykesville Station, & Anchor Counseling Centers, which offers autism testing & medication management services for children & adults, accepting Johns Hopkins Medicine insurance to do so.

Credit: Ethan Reese / Maryland Muckraker — Sykesville Station storefront with progressive symbolism enlarged

Credit: Ethan Reese / Maryland Muckraker — Anchor Counseling Centers storefront with progressive symbolism

When interviewed about the store-front designs by CBS News Baltimore, Mayor Link said she wanted everyone to feel a sense of belonging in Sykesville, explaining how she “grew up in a rural community” & therefore knows “what it’s like to not feel comfortable in your own skin”. The apparent insinuation being that rural communities, like Carroll County, make LGBT people uncomfortable with their bodies – making for what a literalist would consider a stereotype.

Pride Day pub crawl & drag queen story time

On Saturday June 3rd the town held a Pride Day celebration featuring a pub crawl for adults & a story time for kids with drag queen Naomi Ratchet. The Carroll County Times was there to take pictures, in one photo showing Ratchet reading a queer themed book held by Downtown Sykesville Connection’s Executive Director Julie Della-Maria, with another showing Ratchet in a hugging embrace with a little girl wearing a pink bow in her hair & a butterfly face-painting on her cheek. 

All this in mind, one concerned grandmother called the town of Sykesville prior to the July 1st ‘Let Freedom Ring Parade’ to ask about the symbolism that would be included in the 4th of July weekend activity. She was told in a hushed tone by an answering receptionist that Sykesville is not the same as it used to be.

Making history & over-representation

When Link was elected Mayor of Sykesville in 2021, the first woman to do so, she told the Carroll County Times she was aware “history was being made”. Some of her campaign signage at the time focused on gender & made innuendo to sex organs, with one sign reading “The Best Man For This Job Is A Woman”, & another quipping “Bigger Isn’t Always Better, (Unless it’s the size of my sign!)”.    

Link joins Westminster Mayor Mona Becker as one of two LGBT woman Mayors in Carroll, meaning LGBT women constitute 25% of Carroll’s mayors despite making up a much smaller portion of the local & broader population – making for the sort of over-representation Becker has academically researched at McDaniel College where she found that chemistry textbooks disproportionately visualize & academically reference men & whites.

“You Can’t Hide The Rainbow”

Westminster’s Pride Festival, with the tagline “You Can’t Hide The Rainbow”, is this Saturday July 8th on East Main Street. LifeBridge Health, the non-profit in charge of Carroll Hospital, returns as one of the event’s corporate sponsors. One of the participating vendors is FreeState Justice, a legal social justice organization that participated in a lawsuit against the Talbot County Board of Education represented by Westminster lawyer Ed O’Meally, the outcome of which set a precedent for boys being allowed in girls bathrooms and vice-versa in public schools after the establishment of gender identity as a protected class akin to sex under Title IX.       

At the Bel Air 4th of July parade in Harford County on Tuesday, no pride or progress symbolism was immediately visible. The county’s Moms For Liberty chapter participated in the parade with the intention of protesting the prior renaming of John Archer & William Paca schools because the two namesakes were slave owners, but the protest signage was rejected by the Bel Air Independence Day Committee which governs the event.  

Credit: Ethan Reese / Maryland Muckraker — Harford County Moms For Liberty float during 4th of July parade
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