Ashtabula Pride, Inc. was founded in June 2023 by Rebekah Beeman and Michael Riffe as a new vision and focus for the county's Pride festival. The first festival was started in 2020 by the late Pastor Bill Daywalt, Pastor John Werner, Librarian A.J. Petro, and Drag Queen Mona Lotz (Riffe), who met weekly to transform Daywalt's plan of a Pride Picnic into a much larger event, a PRIDE FESTIVAL! In just a few weeks, those four and a select number of volunteers orchestrated the first annual Pride Ashtabula County festival, which was attended by over 3,000 people of all ages and walks of life! Immediately following the festival, the four and their volunteers formed the LGBTQ Coalition of Ashtabula County Inc. which would focus on outreach and education for the county.
The Coalition endured many changes in its first three years that distracted focus on the festival, so Beeman and Riffe proposed to the board to remove Pride from the Coalition's covering and make it its own separate entity. With the amount of work needed to conduct a festival of this magnitude and the Coalition's main focus of outreach and education, the Board gave their full hearted blessing at this new structural idea. Now these two independent organizations work together to bring forth their visions for the LGBTQ+ Community of Ashtabula County.
Ashtabula Pride provides safe and celebratory events that fuel the advancement of equality and justice for the LGBTQ+ Community.
We envision a world where neither one's gender nor their sexual orientation determines their rights as an American citizen.