The Sacramento LGBT Community Center, its board of directors, staff, and pride organizers announced today that all in-person events for 2020, including Sacramento Pride scheduled for June 13-14 will not take place as planned. Given what we know now about the COVID-19 pandemic, large-scale events such as the Sacramento Pride March and Festival, planned fundraising events, and our annual queer youth prom are simply not possible and pose too much of a risk to public health and safety.
“This was not an easy decision, as events like Pride and Q-Prom provide safe and affirming spaces that demonstrate the value of inclusion and celebrate progress toward equity and social justice. Community’s health is of paramount importance however and we could not move forward with events that could pose a risk to tens of thousands of people, especially for the most marginalized in our community including queer and transgender Black folks, LGBTQ elders, those living with HIV, cancer, or immunodeficiencies who are at increased risk,” said David Heitstuman, CEO of the Center.
To be clear, Pride is not cancelled, in-person mass gatherings are cancelled. Nothing can take away the pride in our community or in our hearts. The Center will continue to find ways to fly our Pride flags and celebrate the diversity, life, and resiliency of our community. We are exploring remote options that will safely allow us to connect with one another, celebrate Pride, and continue to bring hope and activism to the Sacramento region’s LGBTQ and allied community. Also, Global Pride a virtual event scheduled for June 27th will be a 24-hour international, virtual event that promises to bring together Pride events from around the globe to share messages of hope for our movement.
“I support the Center in their careful decision to postpone Pride and I’m confident they will find other ways to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride not only in June, but throughout the year” says Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
For more than 40 years, our community has hosted Sacramento Pride, that celebrates LGBTQ+ activism, diversity, and community. The event has grown from just a few hundred people in a neighborhood park to more than 20,000 participants annually on Capitol Mall. The Center’s annual Q-Prom has been attended by more than 750 LGBTQ and allied youth for more than a decade and its fundraising events attended by hundreds more. These events are deeply meaningful to our community and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support year-round programming at the Center.
Throughout the pandemic, the Center continues to provide food, shelter, clothing, and other emergency services to LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness 24-7 in our shelter, transitional living home, and host homes. We have also moved many of our other programs to a virtual environment including bilingual community resource navigation and sexual health services; counseling and mental health services; and addiction recovery and peer support groups for youth and adults.
As for Sacramento Pride, “We know that our community is in need of fellowship, connection, and community now more than ever, which is what we will strive to create and make accessible to all, virtually. And we will continue to adapt our critical programming and services in a manner that supports our community’s hardest hit during this trying time,” says Center Board President Carlos Marquez.