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Grand marshals named for the Queens Pride Parade. Meet one of the honorees.

Meet 2024 Queens Pride Parade Grand Marshal Amber Ferrer
Meet 2024 Queens Pride Parade Grand Marshal Amber Ferrer 01:49

NEW YORK - Ahead of the 2024 New Queens Pride Parade, the grand marshals have been chosen to represent leadership, advocacy and diversity.

Among the honorees is Amber Ferrer, an advocate and connector within the LGBTQIA+ community of Jackson Heights.

"I couldn't believe it"

She says it felt surreal to hear she'd been chosen.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I'm like, 'Wait. Are you sure you have the right number?'"

Having taken on roles from executive general manager to consultant, she supports her uncle Eddie Valentin at his renowned Roosevelt Avenue gay bars, Friends Tavern and Viva La Heights. She calls him a mentor and friend.

"He's one of the first people that I came out of the closet to as well," she said.

Together they work to cultivate a safe space where all feel valued.

"We're kind of like the gay 'Cheers,' where everybody knows your name," she said.

More than just bars, they're centers of support, keeping the doors open 365 days year and bringing food drives and health resources to their neighbors. 

"Maybe they came from another country, and maybe they're in the LGBTQIA+ community, but maybe they're not, and they need somewhere to go," she said.

"This is like our Christmas"

In Jackson Heights, Ferrer says, Pride is the most wonderful time of the year.

"This is like our Christmas. It's our holiday season," she said.

The Queens Pride Parade began in 1993 as both an act of resistance amid hate crimes and a celebration of identity, shining a light on a queer community in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the world.

Joining Ferrer as grand marshal is Billy Green, a Manhattan high school teacher who was the 2023 New York State Teacher of the Year. New York State Sen. Leroy Comrie will be the honorary grand marshal.

This year's New Queens Pride celebration will be held Sunday, June 2, from noon until 6 p.m. on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights.

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