(Philadelphia Gay News photo)
By Jason Villemez
PHILADELPHIA — It’s been a while since we’ve heard from PHL Pride Collective about what’s going to happen at Philadelphia Pride on June 3 to 5. With six weeks to go, The Philadelphia Gay News has been getting messages from people asking essentially the same question: is Pride going to happen this year?
The short answer is yes. We know that on Sunday, June 5, a march followed by an event in the gayborhood is being planned. We know that PHL Pride Collective has filed permits with the city for the event, they have reached out to various community businesses and organizations about participating, and they have had public meetings for interested volunteers.
To get clarity on some of the questions that community members have asked about Pride 2022, PGN reached out to PHL Pride Collective, who answered questions via email. PHL Pride Collective is a community program of galaei.
Q: Regarding the Sunday gayborhood event, where does the permit process stand now?
A: For months we have been working diligently, having community conversations, eliciting community feedback, building and now finalizing a pride that truly uplifts Philadelphia’s 50th anniversary of pride. We are in the final stages of the event permit process. We are working closely with the city of Philadelphia and are tying up loose ends to finalize the permits for June 5th, 2022.
Q: For the Sunday march, what work is being done to finalize that?
A: In order to uplift the history of pride in Philadelphia during our 50th anniversary, our PHL Pride Collective has decided on having a march this year instead of a parade. The route has been solidified and communicated with the city. In addition, we’ve partnered with organizers, marshalls, and community organizations to ensure the march is safe, accessible, and designed to include all community members who want to express themselves and their PRIDE.
Q: You said that almost all the businesses/organizations approached about the gayborhood event were excited to work together. What kind of outreach has there been to community organizations and businesses in the gayborhood?
A: Over the last few months the PHL PRIDE Collective and galaei leadership hosted numerous meetings for businesses and the leaders of Queer and allied organizations that serve our communites to solidify their roles within the festival.
We also spoke about how we may partner to create a festival where everyone can see themselves represented. Canvassing outreach has been done on foot throughout the city to bring in as many partners as possible, and we are not done!
Outreach is an ongoing process for us, and we intend to expand on those efforts, including a full press rollout starting in May. We are proud to note that the response to our proposal has been overwhelmingly positive, with stakeholders expressing their excitement as to what we can achieve for the community together.
Q: Generally, how is the planning for Pride going? Are people doing this work without being paid and working overtime to get it done?
A: This process has been a learning curve. There have been many long email chains, meetings, and all night planning sessions. Planning PHL Pride 2022 is a full time job that we have taken on in addition to our own 40 hour work weeks.
Simultaneously, we are intentional to work around organizers in the PHL Pride Collective’s physical, mental, and emotional bandwidth and ensure that our meetings are accessible and open to as many and as much as possible.
PHL Pride Collective is of the community and for the community. We’ve done our best to hold each other in care. All labor done for PHL Pride 2022 is free and volunteer-based.
Q: Anything else you want the community to know about how things are going?
A: We are standing on the shoulders of our Queer and Trans ancestors, working diligently to make them proud and ensuring that we have an event that all members of our community feel seen and celebrated. PHL Pride 2022 is our collective’s first step of many steps to share community pride. We know that everyone is waiting on pins and needles, excited to share this special space with one another again. We ask that everyone be patient as we finalize PHL Pride 2022. We are looking forward to seeing you all in your PRIDE glory. Let’s express ourselves together in all of our authenticity throughout PHL Pride weekend!
(Author’s Note: Any organization that takes on the planning of a city Pride event should be commended. It’s a job that will draw criticism no matter how well the events turn out, because our community is diverse and everybody expects something different from Pride. Just as our community has changed, so too has Pride had to change with it.
(PHL Pride Collective is a new organization. New organizations often have growing pains, and they often need time to figure out who they are and how they can best operate. Organizations evolve as people do. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to approach this year’s Pride with an open mind. Hopefully it will be great. Even if certain things don’t go off strictly according to plan, there will be a blueprint to build on for next year, and good lessons to learn. The community, and PHL Pride Collective, shouldn’t worry about Pride not being perfect. The point is that we have a Pride, and we move forward as a community as best we can.)
Jason Villemez is the editor of the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.
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