As Grand Rapids’ LGBTQ+ community center, the Grand Rapids Pride Center has dedicated itself to creating an inclusive community for queer folk and recognize that queerness intersects across diverse dimensions.
We must callout how deeply-embedded racist structures, systems of power, and inequity have particularly impacted Black people. We’re deeply saddened and outraged at the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor as well as the countless other deaths of Black individuals due to blatant and systemic racism, and structural systems of power designed at maintaining oppressive status quo.
As we begin observing Pride Month 2020 around the nation, we must acknowledge that we owe the celebrations and festivals to Black and Brown trailblazers in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Until recently, the powerful and inspiring role transgender women of color played in the advancement of the LGBTQ+ movement was rarely mentioned in the retelling of our history.
Despite the role these early warriors contributed towards greater equality, most of our annual Pride celebrations around the nation have become white-centric, catering mainly to cisgender white individuals, shutting out queer communities of color. We acknowledge that in Grand Rapids, this has been the case over the years.
We recognize our role in this system; we have not done enough to ensure Black and African American communities are represented in the work we’re doing throughout the year and during our Pride celebrations. At the Pride Center, we have taken steps to make changes to ensure that we correct this and have greater representation.
We believe at the Grand Rapids Pride Center that the opportunity for us to do better than the years before must be an even more significant part of our mission’s focus.
The Grand Rapids Pride Center affirms and supports Black communities regardless of who they love or how they identify, or where they live. We want this commitment to be purposeful and inclusive, and as a staff and Board of Directors will be meeting together and with community partners and developing action items that we will then share with the community.
The Grand Rapids Pride Center is committed to dismantling racist structures within our organization and calling them out in our community.
-The Staff & Board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Pride Center