Organization will host virtual events throughout the year instead, starting with Pride Month photo campaign
Charlottesville, VA – Monday, June 8, 2020 – Local nonprofit Charlottesville Pride Community Network (Cville Pride) announces the cancellation of its annual event, the Cville Pride Festival, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was slated to occur on September 12. Concerned about the exposure risks of large crowds, as well as the economic losses experienced by the nonprofits and sponsors whose contributions help fund the event, organizers felt this was the safest choice they could make.
“We’re very disappointed, of course,” says Lisa Green, Pride Festival Director. “This would have been our 9th Pride Festival. It’s the one time of year we can all come together as a community to be completely ourselves.”
Amy-Sarah Marshall, President, further explains: “We talked about a virtual festival, but it’s not something we can replace with a Zoom call or duplicate with a digital drag show. The Pride Festival is a lived, communal experience.”
June is Pride Month
In lieu of in-person gatherings, Cville Pride has planned ways for the community to celebrate Pride Month. (LGBTQ+ Pride parades and festivals began as a way to memorialize and continue the energy of the 1969 Stonewall riots, when gay bar attendees, mostly lesbians and trans women of color, resisted police brutality and ushered in the modern gay rights movement.)
First up: Pride is Everywhere Project
Cville Pride invites members and allies of the local LGBTQ+ to send or share photos of how they’re remembering Pride. Without the ability to gather in person, the organization wants to gather everyone together in images. “You could show yourself wearing a Pride shirt, capture the flag on your front porch, snap a picture of a bumper sticker or button or tattoo or your dog with a rainbow collar – share with the wider community how you show your pride,” explains Marshall.
The organization hopes to have hundreds of images to use for a montage, “a concrete visual to represent the community to which they belong. People are feeling such isolation, and many have depression and severe loneliness,” Marshall says. “This is a small way we hope to uplift people who feel alone.”
Any specifics? “We’re hoping to make a giant Pride flag with the photos,” Marshall explains. “So we’re hoping for images with a Pride color featured or in the background. But we’ll take anything.”
Anyone interested in submitting a photo to the project can do so on Facebook or by email. Names and info can be kept confidential upon request.
Pop Up Pride
Later in the month, Cville Pride plans to host giveaway tables at area LGBTQ+ owned businesses. “We want to support the businesses that do so much for us,” Marshall says. “Get people to know where they are, maybe spend a few dollars, get some free Pride merchandise, come out and do something that’s in person but safe.” The pop up event should occur towards the end of June, dates and location details coming soon.
Other local organizations, including the Festival of the Book, have Pride events this month. Equality Virginia will host a Facebook Live event about the new state protections going into effect on July 1. Those interested can check the Cville Pride public calendar for details.
“We do have other ideas in the works,” Marshall says. “So anyone disappointed about the festival not happening should definitely follow us on social media or check our website, because some fun things will be happening, and we continue to have virtual ways to meet with others on an ongoing basis.”
To schedule interviews or coverage, please contact Amy Sarah Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434.882.1588 (cell).
Charlottesville Pride Community Network (Cville Pride) is a Charlottesville-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates a vibrant, visible, and inclusive LGBTQ community presence in Charlottesville, Albemarle, and the surrounding region that promotes equality through events, education, outreach, and advocacy To find out more: www.cvillepride.org.