You might have already heard that this year’s Pride in Philadelphia will be the weekend of June 2 to June 4. It will be a big gathering, and it won’t be just in the gayborhood. From the June 2 flag raising at City Hall, to dance parties, to the June 4 march and festival, Pride will have something for everyone this year.
For us at PGN, we’ve been preparing for the last six months for our annual Pride Brunch featuring the Stonewall Community Awards, which will be held on June 4. In a process this long and complex, there comes a moment when it all comes together, and that moment was last week. It brought a big smile and it certainly made my week. Jason and I actually celebrated.
For us, the hardest part of putting the event together is making sure that all parts of the community are represented and that when the awards are announced, the community not only approves those awarded, but feels they’ve earned them. We felt that sentiment from people in 2022 and hope that this year is as impactful.
At last year’s Pride Brunch, with an audience full of community leaders, we were truly thankful to present Michael Henson with the lifetime achievement award, Michael Newmuis and Rachel Ferguson of Visit Philadelphia with the Jeff Guaracino visionary award, and of course, the ally award went to our community’s good friend Sheryl Lee Ralph of ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” for her 30 years of HIV/LGBT advocacy. The acceptance speeches were, as one guest stated, “like going to church,” and another community leader was seen with tears coming down their cheeks. To me those awards are the heart of the event.
The fundamentals of the Pride Brunch this year are the same: it’s Sunday June 4. That date was chosen so that we could work in unison with galaei, who are planning the this year as “PRIDE 365.” So for those attending the June 4 brunch from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, when they leave they’ll walk directly out of the Arts Ballroom onto Locust Street where the Pride festival will already be in full swing.
So who are the awardees this year, the local leaders and that national figure who will be in attendance? Who will be awarded the Lifetime achievement award, the Visibility award, and the ally award? We’ll leave that to be announced in the next couple of weeks. But rest assured, like last year, there might be a few surprises.
And when you leave the brunch, galaei has worked with community partners to build a variety of fun and vibrant places for everyone at the Pride festival. There will be youth and family programming in an expansive space curated by several local organizations, including The Attic Youth Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence, galaei’s SPLAT program, Philly Family Pride, and the William Way LGBT Community Center. The space is alcohol and smoke free and will feature age-appropriate and safe youth and family programming to celebrate all generations of Philadelphia Pride.
The festival also continues with Food Truck Way featuring diverse and accessibly priced meal options, a dedicated sober space and dry bar for adults, and many stages for DJs and performances.
PGN takes pride in working with so many community organizations this year to create a Pride which is inclusive, fun and as galaei states full of “Love, Light and Liberation.”