October 1, 2020 at 7:27 am EDT | by Capital Pride Alliance
Time for a new chapter of Capital Pride
first Pride, gay news, Washington Blade
A scene from last year’s Capital Pride festival. (Washington Blade file photo by Drew Brown)

Pride encompasses a movement that for over 50 years has sought equality for the LGBTQ+ community.

In the National Capital Region, we have celebrated Pride for 45 years and that celebration has grown and changed during that time. Our Pride started as a small gathering near Dupont Circle, at a time when that area was the center of our city’s LGBTQ+ community. That gathering has grown into a 10-day celebration in June, with a large parade through some of our historic LGBTQ+ neighborhoods and a festival on Pennsylvania Avenue with the U.S. Capitol as our backdrop. We now #HavePride365 with multiple events and programs held throughout the year to emphasize that our movement does not just happen in June, but that we must work for equality and celebrate our diversity 365 days a year.

The Capital Pride Alliance was founded in 2008 by a group of Pride volunteers in order to assume stewardship of the annual Pride Parade and Festival. The role of traditional Pride events has provided a large platform that allows the LGBTQ+ community to be visible. These types of events are the primary funding sources for CPA and our partner Pride organizations. Therefore, cancellation of the Pride events due to the pandemic has created a difficult and unique challenge, while providing unconventional opportunities and new possibilities. The passion, determination, and talent held by members of the CPA team have allowed us to rethink the role we play within the LGBTQ+ community. It has reshaped how our organizations function and requires us to adapt so that we may survive these challenging times.

This past June, the LGBTQ+ community and the entire world collectively joined with Black Lives Matter to focus on ending the ongoing systemic discrimination that continues to exist. In recognition of the intersectionality that exists within our community and our movement, CPA is working with leaders, organizations, businesses, partners, and sponsors to support movements that facilitate sustainable change and address systemic issues facing members of our LGBTQ+ community. As first steps, we joined in the movement to proclaim that #BlackLivesMatter and especially #BlackTransLivesMatter. We also testified before the D.C. City Council during budget hearings in support of defunding police programs and reallocating funds to social services.

We are dedicated to creating sustainable and effective change, while recognizing that we must also identify internally how we participate in systems of oppression. We heard concerns from members of our organization, in particular Black and transgender members, about how we can do better, and calls for us to rise to the occasion. We want to thank these individuals for holding us accountable to ensure that we do better to value and listen to everyone’s voice, and to use the platform of Pride to its fullest to advocate for our diverse LGBTQ+ community.

To meet the evolving needs of our organization in an ever-changing landscape, we have committed to:

Reviewing our governing structure and making necessary improvements, in addition to exploring potential consolidation of services and programming with other groups.

Ensuring that CPA is inclusive and accessible through governance, planning, and execution of programming.

Remaining fiscally responsible and transparent to ensure that CPA is able to fulfill its core responsibility of organizing and supporting future Pride events.

Developing new programming to bring visibility to our LGBTQ+ community. This includes continuing our Pride Talk conversations in partnership with The DC Center, producing more episodes of our Pride In The City web series, which highlights our diverse local community, partnering with the National Trans Visibility March on Oct. 3 with our Trans Visibility Capital Pridemobile, participation in the first-ever nationwide Pride Stride 5K/10K, announcement of the inaugural Out Brigade on Oct. 10 in recognition of LGBTQ+ History Month and National Coming Out Day, and launching our #StillWeVote campaign to encourage all of us to exercise our civic responsibility in this upcoming election.

It’s time for a new chapter of Pride. These are our first steps. If you are interested in being a part of the change, please apply to join the Capital Pride Alliance team. We want and need new perspectives to help our movement grow. We are currently recruiting a few individuals to join our board of directors, which engages in fundraising and provides oversight to the organization. We are also looking for some volunteers to join our Production Team, which leads the production and development of new and existing programs. Please consider joining our team and visit CapitalPride.org/join for more information. Thank you for your support through the years and know we will march and celebrate again. #StillWeGrow&Celebrate

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.