Harrison County

Gulf Coast community gets its hands dirty for equal rights

Tyreonia Hopper of Gulfport places here hand on the ‘love wall’ at the MS Gulf Coast Equality Fest on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017.
Tyreonia Hopper of Gulfport places here hand on the ‘love wall’ at the MS Gulf Coast Equality Fest on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. jclark@sunherald.com

Sponsors of the MS Gulf Coast Equality Fest on Saturday wanted to do something to promote equal rights and love, so they decided to build a wall. But instead of the wall serving as a way to keep people out, it was a way to bring people together.

A “love wall” was on display at the Equality Fest in West Side Park in Gulfport. The wall was a living art exhibit where festival attendees were encouraged to paint their hands in water-soluble paint and make a hand print on the structure.

“This is our love wall,” said Rachel Walklet, advertising director for the Scarlet Pearl Casino, one of the corporate sponsors of the festival. “We have been meeting at the Scarlet Pearl to talk about what we could do to promote love and show equality and that’s how they wall came about — we thought it would be an excellent way to show love.”

Walklet said the interactive art wall had been a very popular attraction.

“The response has been overwhelming,” she said. “People seem to love it and we had several people come back and do it multiple times.”

Shay Smith of Harrah’s Gulf Coast/Caesars Entertainment, one of the festival’s corporate sponsors, said the love wall represented the spirit of the festival.

“We were put here to love one another and this wall reminds of that,” Smith. “And that’s what this festival is about.”

The first-ever festival was organized by the Coast Equality Council, a nonprofit for the LGBT community and its allies.

  Comments