St. Pete Pride Chairman of the Board Says 20th Anniversary Will Be Most Ambitious, Inclusive and Diverse Yet | Columns | Tampa

0
Click to enlarge

In the two decades since its launch, the work of thousands of volunteers and partners has not only enabled St Pete Pride to become one of the 15 largest Pride celebrations in the country.

It’s the 20th anniversary of St Pete Pride! I feel humbled to sit in the chair of the board at this historic time for our organization and our city. While “Chairman of the Board” may seem like a lofty title, the reality is this: I am one of hundreds of volunteers who have come forward over the past two decades to link arms with like-minded people. like-minded and doing the hard and joyful work of creating the kind of community we want to live in and share with others.

Twenty years ago, when I was a teenager in London, England, a handful of people across the Atlantic in St. Petersburg, Florida wondered what to do in the aftermath of Tampa Pride , which had been run over by a city commissioner who felt Pride had no place in Tampa Bay. Rather than retreat into the shadows or even move away from Florida for a more gay-friendly city, a handful of bold visionaries from the LGBTQ+ community have decided to hide and raise the rainbow flag. even higher sky across the bay: St Pete Pride is born!

In the two decades since its launch, the work of thousands of volunteers and partners has not only helped St Pete Pride become one of the 15 largest Pride celebrations in the country, but has also helped to shaping the social and cultural landscape of the city as a whole. St. Pete continues to evolve as a bastion of diverse and progressive values ​​in the South, attracting an impressive number of new residents from around the world, like myself, to the area each year.

The 20th Anniversary season will be St Pete Pride’s most ambitious, inclusive and diverse to date. Along with the parade, a month of celebrations will include a Friday night concert featuring Todrick Hall and Pussy Riot, a family day for LGBTQ+ youth, families and allies, the second official June 19 event of St Pete Pride and intimate events at the Palladium with cultural icons Sandra Bernhard and Carson Kressley.

At a time when Florida is the national epicenter of LGBTQ+ legislative backlash, St Pete Pride’s mission is more crucial than ever. As Florida’s greatest pride, we have a powerful platform to provide representation, love, and support to the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. Since last season, we have expanded our all-volunteer Board of Directors to a diverse group of ten people and recruited a dynamic new Executive Director, Nicole Berman. Dozens of community partners and sponsors have stepped up to provide support. Our team of volunteers is wider and deeper than it has ever been, and we welcome ANYONE who wants to get involved.

Every pride is someone’s first pride, and creating that experience for people is a huge privilege.

Tweet that

Last year at the family event, a young girl joined me while I was working at the merchandising table and asked if I was one of the people hosting the event. When I told her I was, she gave me a big smile and held out her hand, which held a rainbow clay hand-painted heart that said “PRIDE.” She told me it was her very first Pride and she was so happy to be there, and she thanked me for everything I did to make this possible. For a year, this heart has been hanging in my kitchen. My wife, my three daughters and I talk about it regularly. That’s why sometimes I can’t be home for dinner. Or having to stay up very late to work. That’s why sometimes I can’t participate in Mario Kart, or be the one to pick them up in practice. It is a symbol of honor and the need to serve others.

To me, the heart hanging in our kitchen represents the heart of St Pete Pride. Every pride is someone’s first pride, and creating that experience for people is a huge privilege. If LGBTQ+ children, youth and adults rely on Pride to be one of the only places they feel safe being their most authentic selves throughout the year, then we’re going to make sure the Pride Month is the best, happiest, most diverse, love-filled place possible. We hope that you will be present this year and that you will agree!



Source link

Share.

Comments are closed.