Phoenix’s annual pride parade and festival at Indian Steele Park may have been postponed, but the party is still on for this weekend. It’s just online.
The 40th anniversary Pride celebration, originally scheduled for this weekend, has now been officially moved to Nov. 7-8. The decision comes as people have been asked by state leaders to hunker down during the coronavirus pandemic.
But festivities for the weekend aren’t completely shut down. Virtual Pride is happening, thanks to an idea by a member of Free Mom Hugs Arizona who wanted to help keep people engaged and connected during these difficult times.
Virtual Pride spokesperson Christopher Jay Hall says the push to go digital came from Free Mom Hugs. “They were really looking forward to Phoenix Pride and were sad to hear of its need to be postponed.”
Free Mom Hugs is a nationwide nonprofit organization that wants to empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQ community. And the name says it all: they’re always happy to provide free hugs and high fives to anyone who wants or needs them.
Shannon Black, chapter leader for Free Mom Hugs Arizona, said she hopes Virtual Pride will provide a way for the community to celebrate the spirit of Pride in the age of social distancing.
She reached out to Drag Story Hour Arizona to see if they could help make it happen, and the event was a go. They had no clue it would become this big, with 53 events now planned by over 20 organizations.
Did we mention this was all planned in one week?
Black tells the Copper Courier, “I hope the LGBTQ community gets enjoyment and a sense of connection from this weekend. I know that the postponement of Phoenix Pride has been hard on so many in the community.”
“Personally, as a person to know what it’s like to grow up in rural areas of our state with little to no resources,” Hall added, “I hope to reach new audiences who may not be able to attend a Pride event due to location or being raised in an unaccepting household.”
Virtual Pride will have tons of opportunities for people to interact, including a virtual parade where people are encouraged to dress up from home and share their PRIDE photos throughout Sunday on their Facebook page.
Virtual attendees can also count on several live drag story hours, a few church services, live vocals, comedians and much more.
“This is uncharted territory and I believe this event will have an ever-lasting impact beyond what we will ever understand,” Hall said.
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