With so much uncertainty and so many things changing from day to day, I wanted to take this moment to share with you some of the changes and adaptations we’ve made and how we are moving forward. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by the mental, emotional, physical, health, and financial damage that has been done by this virus. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to abide by our local and state guidelines.
Globally, 176 Pride organizations have had to cancel or postpone their events. Not only do these cancellations deny our LGBTQIA+ siblings around the world their day in the sun, they take away time for justice work and access to LGBTQ-competent health care and resources. As we’ve mentioned before, our regional and global network of Prides has helped us to navigate challenging times and to better strategize as a movement.
While most Prides are in June, San Diego Pride is held in July, which gives us a fighting chance that other communities don’t have. That said, like all of us, San Diego Pride has, in just a few days’ time had to make some huge adjustments to how we operate. We have had to cancel all of our events for the next two months and have lost tens of thousands of dollars of income because of it. The uncertainty means that all of our income streams are at a virtual standstill. Many of the small businesses that we work with to put on the event or rely on for income have already laid off their employees or shuttered their doors. Still, we remain hopeful.
While our team works remotely and our programs have all shifted into virtual spaces, I couldn’t be more proud of how every single one of our Pride Family members is stepping up to this challenge. Our Pride Celebration planning continues on; 70 volunteer-leaders attended our virtual monthly Pride Leadership Meeting and breakout sessions. Our programing and planning groups that center youth, women, servicemembers, Latinx, APIMEDA, trans communities, and more have all continued on meeting, planning, and connecting. Our team continues to work to collect LGBTQ-specific resources such as virtual community spaces, and volunteer needs and deliver them back out to the community.
I write to you in awe of our community’s resilience. The Center has adapted to continue delivering life-saving services and care. North County LGBTQ Center continues to be a beacon of hope and connectivity. Urban Mo’s, Chad Michaels, and the Dream Girls have found a path to support our local performers while uplifting our spirits. Local LGBTQ-owned businesses that always give to our community like Harley Gray and Rich’s are offering takeout or delivery to help keep their staff and all of us supported.
Each of them and all of you are inspiring. I am so proud to watch this community show strength in solidarity. The ingenuity and resolve of our community that shines through in times of crisis are beautiful to behold. Our theme logo this year is meant to look like a rally or protest sign. It is meant to remind us that in times of joy and times of pain, we are stronger together, and Together We Rise.
Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs, Executive Director, San Diego Pride