If We Produced the Paradeon June 3rd, 2010 at 12:39 pm
Update: Thanks everyone for your comments on this. I just want to be extra clear that we have no intention of ever trying to produce a pride parade. The folks that do them do such a wonderful job and we are grateful for their work in our communities. We were just trying to visualize how the work that we do all year long, the grants and scholarship, would look in a parade. Thanks for all your thoughts.
With June upon us the phone calls are starting to roll into the office, asking about parade details. It’s a common misperception. People see our name, Pride Foundation, and assume we produce their local Pride parade. So the common refrain of, “We don’t do the parade, we give away money” is echoing through our office.
But all of this has us wondering: What would our work look like as a parade?
The streets would be filled with organizations, small and large, all finding unique and innovative ways to help out LGBT community.
Some of them would be groups you have heard of, such as Planned Parenthood or Basic Rights Oregon. Others would be new to you, such as Umatilla Morrow Alternatives or Voices Rising. They would be marching down the street, feeling bolstered by their community’s generosity and support.
Right alongside the LGBT organizations would be our scholars —students of all ages from all over the Northwest, carrying signs that declare their hopes and dreams. The signs would read, “I’ll be there for LGBT foster kids” or “I know I’ll make a difference as a visual artist.” We’d be able to see the incredible diversity of their educational and professional aspirations, and also the similarity of their belief in equality.
Next in our parade would be leaders from all over the Northwest who are improving their communities. These are the folks that you don’t hear about as often from us, but they are mighty in their numbers. In this group you would see lots of parents of LGBT folks, who are vocal and visible in their towns and cities. You’d also see all the people who run our steering committees, making sure the funds are available for their local LGBT community.
The parade wouldn’t end here; in fact it would only get longer. Because next would come the thousands of donors and volunteers who contribute to Pride Foundation and other organizations helping our community every year.
There would the people who send us a handwritten note and $3 in cash every year, alongside the people who have endowed scholarship funds that support numerous students. They would be marching along with the volunteers who read our scholarship and grant applications and decide where the funding should go. It would be hard to tell if they were cheering for each other or for the nonprofits, students and leaders they support. In fact, they cheer for both.
And who would line the streets to watch our parade? That would be the people from all the cities, towns, and communities where we work. Some of them didn’t even know there was an LGBT community in their town until the local library got a grant from Pride Foundation.
Others would be the high school and college counselors who proudly display the poster announcing Pride Foundation’s scholarships every fall. There would be the leaders of other foundations, who look to Pride Foundation for advice and partnership in support of the LGBT community. They would clap and cheer loudly as everyone passed by, and later tell their friends about how inspired they feel.
That is what our parade would look like. Where would you be in our parade? Marching along or cheering from the sidelines? Wherever you would be, we thank you for being a part of our work in building the Northwest’s LGBT community.