For the first time ever in its organization's history, the NAACP is taking part in the Seattle Pride Parade this Sunday.
The organization also just named its first LGBTQ chair, 34-year-old Deaunte Damper.
“It’s probably one of the proudest moments of my life,” said Damper.
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Damper grew up in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood and said being black and gay was not easy.
“I was always harassed about my sexuality,” said Damper. “I remember the isolation I felt.”
Today, he said his community has embraced him. The local NAACP is among some 250 groups taking part in the Seattle's Pride Parade this year.
"We are excited to have them and have them represent at the Pride Parade,” said Seattle Pride President Kevin Toovey.
Toovey told KIRO 7 this Sunday's event in Downtown Seattle will be its biggest to date. The theme: How far they have come since the city's first parade in 1974. Adding the NAACP to the list of participants proves the message of equality is spreading.
"We were one of the first cities to get behind the LGBTQ community and we expect that trend to continue,” said Toovey.
Damper said while he's out to make a statement at the parade on Sunday, his work with the NAACP is just beginning.
One of his goals is to raise awareness about the ongoing violence toward the transgender community here and across the country.
"I wouldn't want anyone to grow up like that,” said Damper. “It's time for us to come out of isolation, out of hiding to the issues every community should be talking about."
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