OUR PRIDE STORY

Driven by our Mission

Driven by our Mission

We work to create positive change for the 2-SLGBTQ+ community by breaking down barriers, creating awareness, providing inclusive services, and bridging relationships.

Our Mission

We work to create positive change for the 2-SLGBTQ+ community by breaking down barriers, creating awareness, providing inclusive services, and bridging relationships.

Our Vision

We envision a vibrant, thriving community of 2-SLGBTQ+ people who are celebrated and empowered to achieve their fullest potential.

Our Guiding Principles

AUTHENTICITY
We are committed to our community finding and embracing their unapologetic selves, cultures, and identities by being true to our word, our values, and core beliefs.
ACCOUNTABILITY
We are committed to giving and receiving feedback and taking ownership of our impact and harm that has been perpetuated within our community, and to holding ourselves responsible to critical learning and action to support our community members.
COMMUNITY CARE
We are committed to investing in our community, expanding our culture of interdependence, and focusing on intentional actions in our connection with others.
LIBERATION
We are committed to critical transformation within GRPC and our community by challenging the norms and institutionalization of white supremacy, patriarchy, dominance, colonialism and exclusion and their inherent ties to cisheterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia.
JUSTICE
We are committed to a society that is dedicated to fairness and equity for all individuals and social groups; that recognizes and respects differing ethnic, cultural, gender, and other identities; and, most importantly, that affords a dignified and fulfilling existence for all of our community.

Our Story

1987
An Image of Washington DC
March on Washington, 1987

Returning from the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 11, 1987, a small group from West Michigan set course to make a change.

This trip provided them the experience of being a part of something bigger. They had the opportunity to promote a sense of pride, of security, of belonging. At that time, this was something new for the LGBT community. The group returned with energy, passion, determination, and ambition to achieve equality. They started with a series of casual meetings originally hosted in homes and welcoming businesses, and then the group ultimately formed a new LGBT community center to bring West Michigan together.

1988
Grand Rapids’ First Pride Celebration

In 1988, they hosted Grand Rapids’ first Pride Celebration in the Monroe Amphitheater (the predecessor of the beloved Rosa Parks Circle). Then, as now, Pride put LGBT people right where we belong, at the heart of the Grand Rapids area. There was some controversy – the group asked the then Mayor Gerald Helmholt to issue a proclamation recognizing LGBT Grand Rapidians and the Pride Celebration, but the Mayor publicly refused to do so. Despite Helmholt’s objection, the event took place on Sunday, June 19th, 1988.

1990's
The logo decal on Grand Rapids Pride Center's Window
Grand Rapids Pride Center Moves to Eastown

The Network grew organizationally, moving into a space on Cherry St. in the 1990s and then in its current space on Atlas Ave in the Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids in 2003. Public support of and commitment to the LGBTQ community has grown, with the Network being a community partner in major steps such as Grand Rapids’ historic civil rights ordinance protecting Grand Rapidians from discrimination in employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

2014
A Rainbow flag hangs over a crowd at pride.
Restructuring and Modernizing

In 2014, we launched a comprehensive, strategic restructuring to modernize the Network’s activities. Throughout 2015 we added new social and support groups, increased the size of each of our existing groups by more than 100% and conducted educational outreach initiatives to hundreds of students, teachers, caseworkers, and mental health professionals, culminating in a stronger organization with a true stake in improving the lives of the local LGBTQ community.

2016
Two people kiss while holding a rainbow flag
The Lesbian Gay Community Network became Grand Rapids Pride Center!

Due to the restricting and modernizing of the organization, on February 22nd, 2016 The Network took its boldest step yet: The Lesbian Gay Community Network became Grand Rapids Pride Center! Our new name better aligns with and represents our mission to “Empowering our LGBTQ community through supportive services and awareness.”

2020
Lucy Dyer Joswick poses in front of a GR Pride Center logo backdrop
Black Lives Matter Community Action Plan

As the Grand Rapids Pride Center examined the ways in which we failed to call out racism, work to dismantle systems that perpetuate it, and confront anti-Blackness within our organization and our community, the Community Accountability plan was created as a fluid, constantly-evolving tool for our organization to identify where there is work to be done and for our community to hold us accountable to our commitments.

2023
Caleb Woodard smiles in his professional headshot
Reshaping the organization for the future

Strategic planning is an essential component for any organization looking to thrive and serve our community well. In a rapidly changing world, having a clear vision, defined goals, and a well thought out strategy is crucial. We wanted your voices to be heard and we understand the power of community listening sessions and how they can revolutionize the way we operate. Because of this, we did the work to listen to our staff, our volunteers, and most importantly our community to help shape us into the organization that you want to see. From this we created our new mission, vision, and guiding principles (MVPs) to represent the collective voice and the principles that we will use to help guide us into the future.

Our staff

The Ones Getting it Done

A non-binary person smiling in front of a rainbow structure


Jazz McKinney, MA, LLP


they/them
Executive Director

(616)458-3511 x101

Lauren Burnell poses outside. Her shirt says, "I support black, trans futures"


Loren Burnell

they/he
Executive Assistant

(616)458-3511 x105

Ollie (1)


Ollie Robison

XE/He/theY
Healthcare Coordinator

(616)458-3511 x104

Aaminah Shakur's, they/them, headshot. A non-binary person smiling with a brick wall in the background.


Aaminah Shakur

they/them
Accessibility Coordinator/ Healthcare Coordinator

(616)458-3511 x104

Cassidy Davis: COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER


Cassidy Davis

She/THEY
Project strategist

(616)458-3511

Fern the Pug smiles widely, knowing that he helps with pride outreach.


Fern

she/they
Therapy dog

(616)458-3511

board of directors

Our Fearless Leaders

Eleanor Moreno poses over a West Michigan Sandy beach.


Eleanor Moreno

They/Them
Board President

Koleta Moore, she/hers, poses for her professional headshot


Koleta Moore

she/her
Board Treasurer

Caleb Woodard smiles in his professional headshot


Caleb Woodard

he/him
Board Secretary

Chief Ewing, he/him/they/them, poses outside in a stripped sweater


Chief Ewing

he/they
Board of Directors, TGE Advisory Committee Chair

Kristen Wilson is posed in this professional headshot


Kristen Wilson

she/her
Board of Directors

Anne Hertl poses against a GR Pride Center backdrop


Anne Hertl

she/they
President Emeritus

a white border of triangles
Black trans lives Matter
COMMUNITY PLAN

Thank you to our Sponsors

Be A part of Change

Be A part of Change