"Today" show next for 13-year-old Pride Parade organizer
A Buffalo Grove girl's message of equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ community will be delivered Wednesday to a national audience.
Molly Pinta, who just completed seventh grade at Twin Groves Middle School, and her parents will head to New York for a guest appearance on the "Today" show. They're scheduled to be interviewed by hosts Jenna Bush Hager and Savannah Guthrie during the show's final half-hour after 10:30 a.m. Central time.
"I'm extremely excited. It's pretty crazy," said Pinta, who has received a lot of attention in the suburbs since starting a campaign last year to bring a Pride Parade to Buffalo Grove.
The effort gained support through a Facebook video and an online fundraiser at GoFundMe, and culminated in an estimated turnout of 5,000 people June 2 for the village's inaugural event.
In the months preceding the parade, the video went viral and the family was contacted by many sources, said Molly's mom, Carolyn. Last week, it was an email from a "Today" producer.
"Are we so lucky?" Carolyn asked. "I can't even believe it. They're flying all of us out and putting us up in a hotel on Times Square."
Molly will serve as the youth grand marshal in Chicago's 50th annual Pride Parade on June 30.
"I didn't think it could get any cooler than that," Carolyn said.
Molly said she is looking forward to "going to a big city and doing big things," including sending a simple message to those who may be struggling.
"It will all be OK. Things can get better and things can change and come around," she said.
Molly's coming out evolution began with the marriage of her uncle and his husband. She attended and was inspired by the inaugural Pride Parade in Aurora last year and has kept advancing the effort.
Molly has spoken at several venues and formed the nonprofit Pinta Pride Project to increase LGBTQ awareness in the suburbs.
"I can't fathom that we are going to New York," Carolyn said. "I will be terrified but she is never nervous. Part of it is I think she's been so lucky she's been so accepted, it's given her confidence."