The Grand Rapids Pride Center aims to be at the center of a vibrant and inclusive community that supports all LGBTQ individuals.
Dear Grand Rapids Pride Center Community,
It is with appreciation, yet sadness, that we announce Thomas Pierce has stepped down from his role as Executive Director of Grand Rapids Pride Center on October 12, 2020. During Thomas’s tenure at GRPC, he was instrumental in growing our support groups, increasing our capacity to serve, and producing one of the most successful Pride Celebrations we’ve ever had in Grand Rapids. We are truly grateful for the tremendous amount of work Thomas has done for Grand Rapids Pride Center and our LGBTQ+ community in West Michigan.
The Board of Directors is currently re-evaluating the scope of the Grand Rapids Pride Center’s staffing and will be forming a search committee composed of Board and Community members shortly.
Thomas has graciously offered to help during this transition phase to ensure our continued success. We are pleased to announce that Jazz McKinney has accepted the position of Interim Center Director. Jazz is a former member of the Board of Directors, having completed their term in September 2020 where they had served as chair of the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Advisory committee for the past two years. Jazz has more than board experience, they have been involved in several activities including our support groups, accessibility committee and Pride Festival security lead. We are confident the Grand Rapids Pride Center is in good hands with Jazz while we navigate the next phase of leadership for GRPC.
We appreciate the support of the LGBTQ+ community during this time. We started 2020 with momentum, but like many community organizations, we found ourselves suddenly halted by the pandemic in a moment when people needed us most.
We are grateful to Thomas, Jazz, Leslie and all of the volunteers who’ve helped keep programming at Grand Rapids Pride Center going. They are what turn community contributions into life changing action. We thank you for your patience as we evaluate, prepare and plan for our future leadership.
Devin R. Rittenhouse
President, GRPC Board of Directors
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
In accordance with the state mandate, the Grand Rapids Pride Center will be closed until Monday, April 13. Our team has been working diligently to bring services to our LGBTQ+ community through a virtual format. Click here to view virtual support options available.
This is a tough time for our entire community. Our team at GRPC want you to know we’re still here for you. Please email team members directly or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need anything.
In partnership now more than ever.
In need of personal care products like toothpaste, deodorant or menstrual hygiene products? Warmer coats, lap blankets, scarfs, socks or heck even crayons for the kiddos? We got em for ya! If you or someone you know is in need, please stop by the Center today from 2 to 4 and we will make up a bag for you.
Thank you to Trinity UMC, Aldersgate UMC, Georgetown UMC, and Genesis UMC for the donations that make this possible.
Times for next week’s stop by will be released on Monday.
In the interest of public safety, the Grand Rapids Pride Center will be closed until Monday, April 5th in response to local and state guidelines in regards to COVID-19.
Beginning Monday, March 23rd, our entire staff will be working remotely. We’re excited to launch our Virtual Queer Services on Monday, stay tuned!
Thank you for your understanding as we do our part to help protect the health and welfare of our team, our members, and our LGBTQ+ community.
Stay up to date with reliable information from the following sources:
As our community is responding to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Grand Rapids Pride Center (GRPC) is committed to the health and safety of LGBTQ+ individuals and our community as a whole. We recognize that those we serve may be at a higher risk of infection due to multiple risk factors, including age and compromised immune systems. That being said, we are taking several precautionary measures to keep our clients and guests safe and healthy.
As an organization, we have:
- Installed new automatic no-touch Purell hand sanitizing stations.
- Increased hours per week that our Facilities Staff are scheduled. Facilities Staff are now be scheduled to come in every day that programming and services take place to clean and disinfect common spaces, bathrooms, telephones, doorknobs and other high-traffic surfaces.
- Communicated to staff, interns, group facilitators and volunteers to wash their hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, eating food, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing and when coming into contact with others
- Implemented policies regarding GRPC representatives presenting with cold and flu symptoms. Any GRPC staff, intern, group facilitator or volunteer who present as ill will be sent home. GRPC staff and interns will be given the opportunity to work from home.
- Developed and posted guidelines for limited or no-touch greetings and goodbyes. As an organization, we are recommending that staff, interns, volunteers, and guests greet and say goodbye to folks using hand signs and signals, “air hugs,” and elbow touches.
As guests of the Grand Rapid Pride Center, we ask that you:
- Please stay home if you are not feeling well. Persons that present to GRPC exhibiting symptoms of cold and flu may be asked to leave. If you need emotional support, please call GRPC at (616)458-3511 and one of our staff will be able to assist you. If you’re experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1.
- Please sanitize your hands upon entering the building. We have installed an automatic no-touch hand sanitizing station at our front entry.
- Please wash your hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, eating food, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing and when coming into contact with others.
- Please use limited or no-touch greetings and goodbyes. As an organization, we are recommending that staff, interns, volunteers, group facilitators, and guests greet and say goodbye to folks using hand signs and signals, “air hugs,” and elbow touches.
At this time, we are not planning to cancel any upcoming social and support groups, office hours or events. We may be asking that in-person meetings be replaced with conference calls as recommended by social distancing guidelines. We will make decisions regarding Grand Rapids Pride Festival 2020 based on local, state and national recommendations- at this time we are proceeding as planned. We will be staying in contact with local health officials at the Kent County Health Department and monitor recommendations by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions.
(p): 616.458.3511 x101
Informational Links re: COVID-19: