July 15, 2024 7:49 am

The premier news source for Snohomish County

Lynnwood Pride akin to a Democratic Party rally

LYNNWOOD—Approximately a couple hundred people, including vendors, attended the first Lynnwood Pride event at the Lynnwood Convention Center on June 8.

Phillip Lipson, Democratic gubernatorial candidate EL’ona Kearney and her daughter, and Charlette LeFevre traveling on the Yellow Brick Road at Lynnwood Pride. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

The event, organized by Phillip Lipson and Charlette LeFevre who also founded Capitol Hill Pride in Seattle, had speakers, vendor booths, and rooms for games, movies, and local authors. Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell read the proclamation for Pride Month to attendees.

“The event was wonderful,” Lipson told the Lynnwood Times. “I want to thank Charlette and Elizabeth for making this first pride [happen].”

When asked about next year’s event, Lipson replied, “It will be bigger and better!”

The emcee for the event was “the fabulous” Sasha Scarlett. According to her Instagram account, “Sasha is an Emmy-nominated drag superstar. She produces the world-famous Portland Erotic Ball, Drag Brunch and shows and events in the Pac Northwest!”

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The emcee for Lynnwood Pride, Sasha Scarlett. SOURCE: misssashascarlett Instagram account.

Controversy surrounded the event, that was sponsored by the City of Lynnwood and Snohomish County’s Office of Social Justice, when it was disclosed that the public event, included a “kids’ catwalk” allowing children as young as 2 years old to participate to songs allegedly containing sexually charged lyrics—specifically Beyonce’s “Texas Hold ‘Em.”

Below is an excerpt from Beyonce’s “Texas Hold ‘Em:

“And I’ll be damned if I cannot dance with you
Come pour some liquor on me, honey too
It’s a real life boogie and a real life hoedown
Don’t be a bitch, come take it to the floor now (woo)”

Contrary to speculation, the catwalk ended up being a lineup of political campaigns and organizations parading on the “Yellow Brick Road.” At the end of the event, kids as young as six years old danced and “just having fun to Disney music,” according to multiple sources.

Lynnwood Pride
Monica Chilton, Chair of the Snohomish County Democratic Committee walking the “catwalk” along with other organizations at Lynnwood Pride. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

The Lynnwood Times left the main stage area at approximately 3:15 p.m. to cover a police-involved incident regarding an alleged “disruptor” at the venue. The incident involved Elizabeth Lunsford, the Activities Art Director for Lynnwood Pride, and Jonathan Choe, a journalist with Turning Point USA.

According to multiple witnesses, including the Lynnwood Times, Lunsford accosted Choe accusing him of filming kids at the city-sponsored public venue. However, Choe did not film kids and was filming and speaking with persons at political booths on his way out of the event. He was then escorted by security and requested that the police be called because he believed his First Amendment Rights were being violated and to file an incident report against Lunsford.

Choe eventually left Lynnwood Pride but not after receiving documents to file an incident report against Lunsford.

This isn’t the first incident of Lunsford accosting members of the press. In 2023, the Lynnwood Times sought a restraining order against Lunsford for twice making false statements to an Edmonds Police Officer and a Lynnwood Event Center security guard. Another incident report by the Lynnwood Times was filed against Lunsford on Saturday, June 8, 2024, for her continued willful harassment knowing no member of the Lynnwood Times attempts to engage her.

Within two hours of Choe leaving the venue, a sign was posted to the entrance of the Lynnwood Event Center stating, “We are hosting private events today. No photography or videography allowed in Lynnwood Event Center without written permission from building management.”

lynnwood pride
Notice posted to the entrance of the Lynnwood Event Center stating, “We are hosting private events today.” It was posted after event organizers had Lynnwood Event Center security escort journalist Jonanthan Choe from the event for a verbal altercation alleged to have been started and instigated by Elizabeth Lunsford, the Activities Art Director for Lynnwood Pride.

The majority White woman-attended Lynnwood Pride was advertised as a public event on its website—see below—and to the city of Lynnwood and Snohomish County, both of which are government entities.

Snapshot from the Lynnwood Pride website promoting the event as public and open to “everyone.”

Besides promoting the “Welcome to Oz” themed event on its city website and social media, the city of Lynnwood was to reimburse the nonprofit for up to $2,500 toward “eligible expenses” only if receipt expenses meet or exceed $5,000. The organization on June 7, one day before the event, received its 501(c)(3) status as a 509(a)(2)—public charity—from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), according to the Lynnwood Pride website.

Public charities typically receive funding through the general public and government agencies. According to the IRS’ website, “under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

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Lynnwood Pride event on June 8, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

However, the speaker lineup was a “who’s who” of local Democratic Party elected or Democratic Precinct Committee Officers: Senator Marko Liias (D-Edmonds), former Washington State Senator Maralyn Chase (D-Edmonds), Lynnwood City Council President George Hurst (member of the Democratic 32nd LD) but speaking as a representative of the Lynnwood City Council and not a political party, Lynnwood City Councilmember and Democratic Congressional candidate Josh Binda, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate EL’ona Kearney.

Democratic and leftwing organizations and campaigns included: Attorney General Bob Ferguson Campaign (D), Snohomish County Indivisible, Washington Stonewall Democrats which is a caucus within the Washington State Democrats Central Committee, Snohomish County Democrats, 32nd Legislative Democrats, and Salish Sea Chapter of the Federation of Democratic Women. All displayed political literature, brochures recommending only Democratic candidates to vote for in the upcoming Primary and General Election, or swag.

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An example of political campaign literature recommending candidates to vote for in the upcoming Primary and General Election by the 32nd Legislative Democrats handed out to attendees at Lynnwood Pride. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Snohomish County Republican Party Chair, Bill Cooper, confirmed with the Lynnwood Times that the organization was not contacted by Lynnwood Pride to participate in the event. Green Party congressional candidate Jason Call did have a booth at the event.

Political activities, according to the IRS’ website, such as voter education activities conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. However, “voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that (a) would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c) have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention”

Nonprofit organizations that directly or indirectly participate in prohibited political activities “may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes,” according to the IRS.

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Singer and songwriter, Lexy Stray, rocking out at Lynnwood Pride. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“What? That has nothing to do with pride, this is political,” singer and songwriter Lexy Stray said over the open mic when interrupted during her performance for an announcement to the start of the documentary, “Bad Faith: Christian Nationalism’s Unholy War on Democracy.”

Two other attendees—one an elected official—shared with the Lynnwood Times that they thought the Lynnwood Pride event was “a bit political.”

The book, “40 Ways to Fight Fascists: Street-Legal Tactics for Community Activists” by  Spencer Sunshine and PopMob is one example of the literature at the event that was distributed by one of the vendors. The book is a how-to guide to counterdemonstration, weaponization against political opposition, community organizing, and navigating the legal system.

lynnwood pride
40 Ways to Fight Fascists: Street-Legal Tactics for Community Activists” by Spencer Sunshine and PopMob is one example of the literature at the event that was distributed by one of the vendors.

Spencer Sunshine, PhD, is a researcher, writer, activist, and speaker against Far Right movements, according to his website. The co-author, PopMob is a group of Portlanders to resist what they define as “a mass movement to unite against the far right.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Correction made on 10:38 a.m., June 9, 2024. Originally it was stated that Lynnwood City Council President George Hurst (Democratic 32nd LD PCO). Although he is a member of the Democratic 32nd LD, Council President George Hurst is not a Precinct Committee Officer.

5 Responses

  1. Lol, yeah right, the banana republicans didn’t get the memo about the event. Bwahaha. What a tired argument and article.

  2. What the hell has happened to Lynnwood. These Pride groups think they have total control while using DEI and ACLU in their back pockets. That’s where the crazy comes out with name calling. Anyone who doesn’t think like they ….are then homophobic haters. An investigation into what transpired yesterday on public property must be taken seriously and thoroughly. And thank you Jonathan for your continued reporting here in the PNW🇺🇸

    1. “These Pride groups think they have total control…” lol. Pride🇺🇸 events occur once a year. Event coordinators must go through proper registration and request procedures.

      “An investigation into what transpired yesterday on public property…” lol. What transpired was a Pride🇺🇸 event. They are well advertised and open to the public if you or your friends would like to check one out! Learn what being an open person means. There are so many kinds of people, no-one knows how many kinds!

      You bring the word “hate” here to this space. Why? This is about inclusive love. Bring it on in here, Sue, Jonathan, and Mario 🤗❤️🇺🇸

  3. I’m sorry for the horrific things you must have done to be kompromised in this way. Or for the leverage being exerted on you through threats to family vulnerable to authoritarian regimes interested in the destruction of Democracy. Anyone taken by this propaganda and stuck in the informational echo chambers that this tabloid is a part of please take a minute to understand what you are focused on in the upcoming election.

    Is it Russia and Israel committing genocides while attacking our democracy? Is it their puppet who was president and is a stochastic terrorist who wants to be a dictator? Is it the erosion of our democratic institutions?

    No its culture wars that are manufactured and who’s flames you are currently fanning. You invoke the right of free speech you hope to soon be banning. We all know bout project 2025 and the fascism you planning. This article and Turning Points provocations are to use nationally to diminish true understanding. I suppose taking legal action might help less violence to be landing.

    Precedent could be swell and stop your underhanding. American values you’re set on abandoning. Treason punished by a classic from a tree type of hanging. You bigots need to see the other side of your nostalgia for lynching.

    Is this a dream hey come quick with the pinching. Nightmarish visions as the noose starts tigthening. Bring false charges against me for this come hard with the inching. I’d relish a court date for in person verb benching.

    Intellectual honesty foreign to you not a bit to me. This is free speech clearly not something you can see. Using your right to gargle and spit maybe. Leave my friends alone in the LGBT.

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