From the word "go" the Community has been involved at every stage in the planning for this year's SF Pride event.
"With our many partners and volunteers, we are able to produce a high quality event that educates, celebrates and gives back to our community."
Said Pride President, Joey Cain.
The process started back in September last year when suggestions were sought from the general public for the event theme and continued in January with nominations for Grand Marshal. That was just the beginning. Community rap sessions followed with the African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Business, Clean and Sober, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Latin, Leather. Senior, Transgender and Youth communities. We heard loud and clear that folks wanted the event to have more political significance, and this led us to our partnership with Equality California (EQCA) to focus on the many assembly bills that affect the future of the LGBT community, such as AB205. We also hosted open community forums concerning the war in Iraq, Pride on the 4th and how women felt about safety issues at the parade. These led to an anti-war statement and our "Give Them Hope, Don't Grope" campaign.
Fifty-three organizations have joined our Community Partners program this year, and will receive grants based upon the beverage sales and donations. Last year, almost $140,000 was given back to the community. This year, we hope to increase that amount to $150,000, but our ability to do that depends upon the weather and those who attend making a $3 donation, more if you can and less if you can't, at the entrances to the Celebration.
Erin Farrell of PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) said:
"Pride's Community Partner program has given our volunteers the opportunity to raise over $25,000 to support our programs. Pride is an excellent example of how our partnerships can benefit everyone involved."
The pantheon of official events around the Parade and Celebration has doubled this year and includes everything from a Gay Rodeo to a Lesbian Health Conference. At the Celebration itself, community groups showcasing the diverse communities of the Bay Area produce all of the venues, with the exception of the Main Stage. For more information about the venues at this year's event, go to: www.sfpride.org/stages
Perhaps the most obvious way in which SF Pride is a community effort is seen in the dedication of the thousands who volunteer to produce this world-class event. Whether serving as a safety monitor for the parade or working behind the scenes to make sure everything happens, it's truly the volunteers from the grass roots that make it happen.