It was an action-packed weekend in Missoula for Pride and the high energy continued Sunday evening in Caras Park at a roller disco event.
“You get to like be like what you wanna be,” skater Shau said.
“I’m where I’m supposed to be, and everyone understands,” added fellow skater Epic.
“I just feel really safe at them too," noted event attendee Lapis.
Being yourself. Being understood. And being safe. Those were the goals of Sunday's event in downtown Missoula as Girls On Shred teamed up with Hellgate Roller Derby for a Pride Roller Disco.
“I think Girls On Shred...just does a great job of making everyone like comfortable and wanted and like not feel scared to be at the skate park or scared to be in any of the places the places that we go and skate at,” explained Samantha Fiorenzo who attended the roller disco.
Missoula-based Girls On Shred has been opening doors for women, trans, queer, non-binary, and BIPOC people since 2010. Through free clinics, Girls on Shred works to create welcoming environments for anyone who wants to learn to skate.
“As soon as Girls On Shred started it was just like basically creating an avenue for girls to be able to come out and feel more comfortable and gain more confidence,” longtime Girls On Shred volunteer Shelby Gilfillan told MTN News.
But it's not just teaching people to skate. Girls On Shred also builds the places to skate and gives access to the gear needed to do it. And Missoula Pride was the perfect opportunity to showcase the opportunities they offer.
“I grew up here, so I’ve seen it change,” Gilfillan observed. “It’s kind of always kept that like hometown community is the most important thing. It’s just always been very accepting, so I think to have little kids come into the picture and see that and grow up in that environment too...I mean it just makes you a better human being and I think it’ll make the world a better place.”