The Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes D.C.’s annual Pride Parade and Festival, announced on Monday that it has postponed all of its Pride related events scheduled for May and June, including the parade and festival, due to the escalating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Capital Pride officials said new dates for the events would be announced in the coming weeks.
In a separate announcement, the national LGBTQ advocacy group Center for Black Equity, which organizes D.C.’s annual Black Pride events on Memorial Day weekend, said it has cancelled all D.C. Black Pride events for 2020 because of potential safety and economic concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.
“For the first time in 30 years, we will not gather in D.C. to celebrate our community during Memorial Day Weekend,” the Center for Black Equity said in a statement. “This too shall pass,” the statement says. “We will celebrate the 30th D.C. Black Pride in 2021, bigger and more celebratory than ever.”
Capital Pride said in its own statement that the announced postponement would include its affiliated Pride events, including Capital Trans Pride, Asian Pacific Islander Pride, Youth Pride, Silver Pride, and DC Latinx Pride.
“Like our fellow Pride organizers around the world, the Capital Pride Alliance has been monitoring the escalating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and has determined that the safest course of action will be to postpone Capital Pride events in May and June,” Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos said in the statement.
“Throughout, we have worked and will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local partners as we make decisions to ensure the safety of the entire community,” Bos said. “We will collaborate with all the agencies and our partner Prides to identify new dates and potentially new ways that our community can come together in Pride,” he said.
“Our theme this year, #StillWe, resonates with all of us under the current circumstances and also in what will surely be new and uncharted territory for Pride organizers,” said Capital Pride Alliance Board President Ashley Smith. “Our history is one of struggle, and with the care and support of the hundreds of thousands of people who participate in Capital Pride events, I can say with confidence that we persevere and will be there for each other in these unprecedented times,” Smith said.
Earl Fowlkes, President and CEO of Center for Black Equity, told the Washington Blade on Sunday that his organization decided to cancel rather than postpone D.C. Black Pride events this year because many of the annual Black Pride events take place indoors at hotels and other locations on Memorial Day weekend.
“Understand that many in our community are not working right now,” Fowlkes said. “It would seem unfair, and maybe even selfish, to expect them to spend money on hotels, travel, etc. for a DC Black Pride weekend when they may not have been able to work during this time of self-quarantine,” he said.
“Our host hotels have closed their doors until June 1, postponing many events until the fall,” Fowlkes continued in an email. “The African American Museum of Culture and History, where we had programming scheduled, is closed until June 1. This has left us no available weekends in 2020 to host DC Black Pride,” said Fowlkes. “For scheduling reasons and the betterment of everyone’s health, we have canceled.”
Capital Pride Alliance also said in its statement that its annual Guide to Pride publication, which in past years has consisted of a thick, glossy printed publication with a full listing of Pride events and other information along with advertisements that helped fund the Pride events, will be published online only this year.
The statement says Capital Pride Alliance will “offer free ad space to support local small businesses that have been supportive of our LGBTQ+ community and will create a virtual Pride exhibition, for all the registered organizations, businesses, and advocates.”