The main New York City LGBTQ Pride march on June 27 will consist of both virtual and “in-person elements,” according to Heritage of Pride (HOP), which announced some limited details about events on tap for Pride month.
HOP, which produces the annual march and related events, had virtual programming last year due to the pandemic. Instead, Reclaim Pride Coalition’s Queer Liberation March, which does not allow corporate sponsors, returned for a second consecutive year — last year it was called the Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality — and drew tens of thousands of people who filled the gap of an in-person march. The Coalition has been asking folks on social media to attend their Wednesday evening meetings to help them plan this year’s Queer Liberation March.
HOP, meanwhile, said in an announcement on February 24 that the in-person elements for their Pride Sunday march are not yet solidified, but there will be a virtual component nonetheless. The annual Pride Rally, slated for June 25, will be virtual, and although the PrideFest and Pride Island events will be returning, HOP is not yet disclosing more specific details about those plans at this time. HOP’s calendar of virtual events also includes the Human Rights Conference, Pride Presents, and Family Movie Night, as well as a second annual Black Queer Town Hall. Specific details on those events are also pending.
HOP is also rolling out a visual campaign that includes Gia Love, José Thomas, G Xtravaganza, Krishna Stone, and Reid Jefferson. Photographer Cait Oppermann is leading that campaign.
HOP is planning this year’s events under the theme “The Fight Continues,” which they say reflects the “multitude of battles” New Yorkers and Americans have been fighting, including the coronavirus pandemic, police brutality, murders of transgender people of color, economic woes, climate change, and other issues.
“We’re pleased to continue to be able to offer a diverse roster of programming this year,” David A. Correa, Heritage of Pride’s interim executive director, said in a written statement. “In 2020 our world dramatically changed very quickly and in a matter of weeks we were forced to pivot to virtual programming and cancel many of our events. With much more time to prepare in 2021, we’re bringing back many of the events we were forced to cancel last year, most notably Youth Pride which will engage LGBTQIA+ youth, many of whom are grappling with the absence of in-person connection.”
HOP has long faced heat on a number of fronts, including the large corporate presence as well as the inclusion of police officers in the march. Last year’s Queer Liberation March ended with police officers arresting folks and unleashing pepper spray on marchers at Washington Square Park.
Most recently, a group of transgender leaders penned a letter to HOP outlining demands to allow Black and Brown transgender women to take over leadership of the organization. A planned meeting between HOP and STARR director Mariah Lopez, who signed on to the letter to HOP, was cancelled after the two sides ended up squabbling over behavior and disagreements over the terms of the meeting.
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