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Flint, MI — Despite current stressors, Flint’s celebration of Pride is still expected to happen, only virtually.
The event will be held Oct. 9-11. Instead of celebrating during Pride month, they event will be centered around National Coming Out Day, another important date to the community. Organizers said they decided to hold the festival online to avoid playing a role in a potential second wave of COVID-19.
This will be the tenth year Wellness Services will have hosted Flint’s Pride celebration. Despite their veteran status, Wellness still has a lot to work out as they navigate the safest way to hold the event, considering the recent spread of COVID-19.
“We were really wanting to avoid canceling altogether because this event is so important to our community but we also didn’t want to put an at-risk community further at-risk for contracting COVID-19 by hosting an in-person event,” said Stevi Atkins, the Chief Executive Officer of Wellness Services.
While they are unsure what it will morph into exactly, Atkins says there will be a mixture of entertainment, speakers, and music, and they hope to center entertainers who have been with them “since the beginning.”
Flint Pride has come a long way since then, she recounted. The city’s first event, held in Kearsley Park, was quaint with about 150 participants, one stage, two vendors, and no sponsorships. Last year, the event held over 3,000 participants, two stages, 60 vendors, and sponsorship has grown. Each year, they are able to pull things off with the help of staff, volunteers and direct partners.
“First and foremost, Pride will always be a protest. It began as a protest and the need for those protests has never stopped, even today. While we might be celebrating our newest Supreme Court ruling, there’s still much to be done to address systemic racism which causes further harm to Black and Brown Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer folks,” said Atkins.
“Secondly, enough can’t be said about how important representation is to LGBTQ+ communities. Being able to see people and families that look much like your own is powerful. We have always wanted Flint Pride to be about holding a celebratory space for our diverse community but leaving room for protesting inequities and mourning losses is also necessary.”
She encouraged the public to follow the Flint Pride page on Facebook for more updates on the event as it approaches.