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D.C. Pride street fair, block party set for Oct. 17

Live entertainment planned; proof of vaccination required



Hundreds gathered in Freedom Plaza in June for a Pride Walk, which replaced the annual large-scale Pride events due to COVID. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade and street festival, has announced it will hold the city’s first annual “Colorful Fest” LGBTQ Pride events on Oct. 17 that will include a Street Fair and Block Party.

The announcement, posted on the Capital Pride Alliance website, says the Street Fair will take place from 12-6 p.m. on 15th Street, N.W. between P and Q Streets.

The Block Party, according to the announcement, will take place from 12-8 p.m. at the Northwest corner of 15th and P streets, N.W. next to the site of the street fair.

“The Street Fair will feature small independent businesses, community groups, artisans, and food along 15th Street,” the Capital Pride announcement says. “The lively Block Party will include entertainment, an As You Are Bar pop-up, and dancing throughout the day for guests 21 and over,” says the announcement.

It says part of the Block Party will take place in the parking lot of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which is acting as a host for the event. 

“Join us as we once again celebrate our vibrant and colorful LGBTQ+ community!” the announcement says.

Facemasks will not be required during the outdoor events, the announcement adds. But it says, “only individuals with proof of vaccination may enter the Colorful Fest Block Party.” And according to the announcement, “Capital Pride Alliance staff, volunteers, performers, and vendors are required to show proof of vaccination to participate in the event.”

Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos said the organization would issue a press release later this week officially announcing the Oct. 17 Colorful Fest events. 

“This is the start of what we hope will become a new annual fall event,” Bos told the Washington Blade.

The announcement on the Capital Pride Alliance website says Nissan and Xfinity have signed on as the Colorful Fest’s lead sponsors. Other sponsors include Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Human Rights Campaign, CareFirst, Tito’s, Heineken, and Wegman’s.

The Oct. 17 events will follow by four months a June 12 Capital Pride Walk from Dupont Circle to Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. in which Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, joined in an unannounced appearance. Harris became the first U.S. vice president to participate in an LGBTQ Pride event.

In addition to the Pride Walk, Capital Pride Alliance organized on that same day a small-scale Pride celebration at Freedom Plaza and a Pridemobile Parade in which about 50 vehicles decorated with Pride related signs and banners traveled through all four of the city’s quadrants.

The Pride Walk, Pridemobile Parade, and the Freedom Plaza gathering marked the first in-person, post-COVID Pride events in D.C. following the decision by Capital Pride to cancel all large in-person events in 2020 due to the city’s COVID restrictions.

In past years, prior to COVID, the Capital Pride Parade and street festival, which was held on Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol, drew over 250,000 people from the D.C. area and the mid-Atlantic region.

Capital Price Alliance’s decision to put on the Oct. 17 events comes at a time when LGBTQ Pride organizations in close to a dozen U.S. cities, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Richmond, have cancelled or postponed planned in-person Pride events for the late summer or fall of 2021 due to COVID concerns.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted the city’s restrictions on large outdoor events in May of this year, as the city’s COVID-19 cases declined significantly following a large-scale vaccination campaign. However, Bowser has said she and the city’s public health officials will be monitoring the recent uptick in COVID cases due to the Delta variant strain of the coronavirus. She said additional restrictions such as a limit on large outdoor gatherings could be put in place if the caseload rises.

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Comings & Goings

Umana named associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol



Wolfgang Umana (Photo courtesy of Umana)

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to Wolfgang Umana on being named an associate with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). He has been with them for more than five years and is currently its D.C. studio’s office manager. 

“I am honored to become GGN’s newest Associate,” Umana said.I have the glorious privilege of supporting GGN’s continuing dedication to progress, inclusion, social justice, sustainability, and beautification of the world we live in.”

Umana also works with NBR Computer Consulting as an LLC Computer Technician consultant. He has experience in social media, communications, outreach, and technical services, and provides a dynamic approach to the fast-changing world of technology. NBR Computer Consulting, LLC is a gay-owned business. 

Umana has also served as D.C. Army National Guard Director of Environmental Affairs and with EMS Consultation Services. 

He has his bachelor’s in Environmental Science & Public Policy, Human and Ecosystem Response to Climate Change, from George Mason University. 

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Capital Pride bids for D.C. to host World Pride 2025

International event draws thousands of visitors



Confetti rained down in New York’s Times Square at Stonewall 50 WorldPride New York’s closing ceremony two years ago. D.C. organizers hope to host the event in 2025. (Blade photo by Lou Chibbaro, Jr.)

The Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, announced on Sept. 21 that it has submitted a bid to host 2025 World Pride, the international Pride event that draws thousands of participants from throughout the world to the host city.

The announcement by Capital Pride says its bid to host the event in D.C. notes that the event, among other things, would commemorate the 50th anniversary of D.C.’s first LGBTQ Pride event in 1975, which began as a block party near Dupont Circle.

World Pride is licensed and administered by the international LGBTQ organization InterPride. The World Pride events themselves, which usually take place every other year, are organized by InterPride’s member organizations such as Capital Pride Alliance.

The Capital Pride announcement notes that World Pride “promotes visibility and awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) issues on a global level.” The announcement adds, “World Pride events include parades, marches, festivals and other cultural activities often enjoyed at Pride celebrations, along with other components such as a human rights conference and large-scale opening and closing ceremonies.”

The InterPride website says the deadline for submitting a bid for the 2025 World Pride has passed. It says D.C.’s Capital Pride and Kaohsiung Pride, located in the large Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung, are the only two remaining cities in competition for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

Ryan Bos, Capital Pride’s executive director, said InterPride was expected to make its decision on which of the two cities to select sometime in November of this year.

“A recent study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton revealed that the annual Capital Pride Celebrations, during normal years, result in approximately $371 million in positive economic impacts to the region, a number that may be doubled if the organization is awarded the prestigious event,” the Capital Pride statement says.

The 2021 World Pride took place earlier this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 2019 World Pride was held in New York City to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which many activists consider the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

InterPride says the 2023 World Pride will take place in Sydney, Australia.

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Va. county supervisors back resolution against ‘required’ pronoun questions

Unanimous vote in Stafford County allows school defunding



What's Your Pronoun? review, gay news, Washington Blade
(Image courtesy of Liveright Publishing)

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that gives it the authority to deny funds to schools that require students to give their pronouns and teach the 1619 Project and critical race theory.

The resolution denounces “the teaching of the 1619 Project and critical race theory (CRT) and related principles in Stafford County Public Schools,” and states the board does not support Stafford County Public School students “being required to identify their chosen pronouns.”

The approved document had been updated to change “requested” to give pronouns to “required.”

Republican Supervisor Gary Snellings told the board he brought the resolution forward, which passed by a 6-0 vote margin, in response to communication from parents. One supervisor was not present.

Snellings called critical race theory “racism.” He also called the New York Times’ 1619 Project published on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony a “theory.”

Critical race theory is not taught in Virginia public schools, but a state law passed in 2020 requires local school boards to adopt policies that are more inclusive for transgender and non-binary students that follow, or exceed, guidelines from the state’s Department of Education.

Snellings said the problem with preferred pronouns was in requiring students to give them. He said that was not in the governing Virginia law.

“This (resolution) does not eliminate anything. It just follows state law,” Snellings said.

A Virginia court in July dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Department of Education’s guidelines for trans and non-binary students. Equality Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia were parties to the amicus brief in support of the protections.

“We are deeply disappointed that these adults made such a hateful decision for kids in the community,” tweeted the ACLU of Virginia in response to the board’s vote.

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