By Deborah Bailey
June is LGBTQ Pride Month — a celebration and commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, staged to resist police harassment and general persecution of the LGBTQ community.
“Pride Month is a celebration of our progress, but must also be an acknowledgment of the work that still needs to be done,” said Former Brookins Policy Director, Kristen Broady in a recent Brookins Institute article about the Black and Brown activists that started the Pride Movement and why activism by the Black queer community continues as a need.
Here in Washington, D.C., the LGBTQ community kicked off the national Pride celebration over the Memorial Day holiday with Black Pride weekend. A host of activities highlighting a range of professional, political action, educational, health, cultural, recreational, spiritual, and entertainment events.
This year’s offering kicked off May 26 and represented the first time the Black Pride weekend was held in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“I laughed, I ate, I drank, I partook in the greenery, I loved, I fellowshipped, I read, I felt pleasure and passion, and I rested. This was a good pride weekend,” Bryanna Jenkins tweeted.
This year’s event was hosted by a plethora of corporate sponsors including BET Television Verizon, Pepco, and the National Education Association.
“It’s been a good minute since I enjoyed my city and had so much fun the way I did,” D.C. resident, James Padge, tweeted.
Black Pride D.C. began in 1991 by Welmore Cook, Theodore Kirkland, and Ernest Hopkins, in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which ravaged the LGBTQ communities in Washington, D.C., and urban centers across the county and world, according to the D.C. Black Pride Website.
There were 800 people who gathered for the first Black Pride festival in Banneker Field with “Let’s All Come Together.” Since the D.C. celebration started, more than 30 other Black Pride celebrations have started in locations throughout the world.
The leaders of this year’s festival caution that HIV is still present in the Black community. The African-American community was and still is disproportionately impacted by HIV. The illness is now the nineteenth leading cause of death in developed countries but is still one of the leading causes of death in developing nations, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
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