Pride leaders adapt to support LGBTQ community during Covid-19
Physical distancing is necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, but maintaining social connections while being physically distant is absolutely essential. We, humans, are social animals, and isolation is not healthy, after all.
Fortunately, we are finding different ways to connect. We can interact with each other on various online platforms while social gatherings have been discouraged. Social disconnection is a problem for all of us, but its impact is especially serious for marginalized people. Our neighbors who are part of the LGBTQ community find it challenging to be accepted for who they are in the broader community. In some cases, youngsters find that they cannot be their authentic selves at home.
Recently, I spoke with several members of the Wenatchee Pride board of directors, including Tan Gleason, Jillian Danley, Micah Vacatio, Ashley Olson, and Luz Estrada, about moving the annual Pride Day to an ongoing Pride series of events. With the coronavirus shutdown, the group has chosen instead to launch a series of virtual events beginning in May and lasting through the summer. On May 8, for example, an online meditation class has been scheduled, you can obtain tickets to this free event using this link,https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wenatchee-pride-guided-meditation-for-youth-and-families-tickets-103616700340?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=post_publish&utm_content=EBLinkEvent&utm_term=fullLink, and the group plans to have a series of other events, including art and yoga events.
“The (LGBTQ) community is already socially isolated,” noted Olson. With the shelter at home recommendations in place, the virtual events will allow members to connect on an ongoing basis.
All healthy organizations find creative ways to function in times of crisis, and so it is with the Pride Board. It’s a volunteer group without an executive director, and so it’s a working group. Moving to an online format, they’ve adopted a couple of hashtags to foster that sense of community, such as #AloneTogether and #HomeButNotInTheCloset.
Community support for this organization has been growing. Confluence Health is this year’s sponsor for Virtual Pride 2020. Additionally, Molina Healthcare donated funds to sponsor technology costs.
Personally, I feel that everyone belongs in a community, and sharing the community together is a strength. I am impressed with the sense of service and community by the members of the Pride board. What a wonderful group of human beings who are doing their best to strengthen the valley.
You can connect with the group on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram by searching for Wenatchee Pride or visiting Wenatcheepride.org. That’s also where you’ll find the details of the Pride events. Board members are looking for businesses or organizations to sponsor online events through the summer months. If you have ideas or suggestions, contact the organization through their social media pages.
Everyone belongs in this community. I am strongly committed to that principle.