Can We Celebrate Our Pride in 2021?
How do we go forward? How do we connect? How do we heal from the loss of our sense of community?
It first starts with reaching out to many members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Since I am an older member of the community, I began asking as many of us as possible how we can have an in-person, warm celebration filled with smiles and hugs, in anticipation of a widely administered coronavirus vaccine. I spoke with a number of people in person and over the phone. I first started a discussion about how and even “if” we should make this an RI Pride organization event or just an open celebration of our diverse community and its allies. I have spoken with present and former members of Pride, and found varied opinions on whether this is possible with the current need for rebuilding our Pride organization. [See “Pride Update” p. 10] In my opinion, the RI Pride organization reached a high note with its amazing COVID-19 food and supply drive, and then encountered some barriers to continued agreement on how the organization should represent our community.
With that said, the overwhelming consensus I heard was that we need and deserve to have some form of a celebration that allows all of us to be who we are and joyously engage with one another. In addition, it is very important that WE provide an economic boost to Providence, our business community and hotels, and create an event that leads us out of this difficult time. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I ask respectfully and humbly that each of us thinks about how and when it will be safe to have such a needed and deserved LGBTQIA+ celebration.
Anthony Santurri is a local small business owner and former Pride Board member.