Philadelphia Equality Forum 2013 Summit wraps up

May 6, 2013 6:52:37 AM PDT
Hundreds of people attended the SundayOUT event in Northern Liberties. It was the final event for Philadelphia's Equality Forum 2013 Summit.

"It gives a better light to what LGBT activism and rights are about," said Allison Jones.

The summit began on Wednesday and Jones traveled almost two hours to take part in the event.

Sunday capped off several days showcasing the LGBT community with a special ending of the four day event at the Piazza.

"SundayOUT at the Piazza is a daylong festival showcasing gay rights," said Keith Joseph, VP of the Philadelphia Equality Forum Board.

Joseph says this year the nation of Cuba was highlighted by the forum and Mariela Castro was honored during several events this week, including Sunday.

"She came out on the stage here at the Piazza. People gave her a big round of applause, they were chanting her name and gave her a big, warm Philadelphia welcome," said Joseph.

It's a welcome sight that almost didn't happen. The State Department almost denied the daughter of Cuba's president Raul Castro and niece of former president Fidel Castro from her trip here.

The sexologist, who is described as a champion of gay rights, toured the Liberty Bell this week and received a special award at a forum dinner on Saturday.

Opponents of Castro say they still condemn her relatives' suppression of human rights. However, during the Piazza's celebration revelers commended Castro and anyone who advocates for the LGBT community.

"I think it's an awesome thing that we chose her for this award. I think our country, as a whole, their vision of Cuba hasn't been that great. There's been a lot of stuff we have to work through and I think it's a good sign," said Andy Wu.