Time To Plan for Pride 2012 events

By Crystal A. Proxmire

Pride planning is now under way around Southeastern Michigan as Hotter Than July and Ferndale Pride both held their first organizational meetings Feb. 23. Both groups had higher than expected turnout and anticipate growing the events this year. HTJ will hold it's 17th annual event in Palmer Park beginning Tuesday, July 24 through Sunday, July 29. Ferndale Pride, now in its second year, will take place over Father's Day weekend beginning Saturday, June 16 through Sunday, June 17. Neither event conflicts with Motor City Pride, which returns to Hart Plaza in Detroit the weekend of June 2 and June 3.

Ferndale Pride popped up last year after Motor City Pride was moved from a small stretch of Nine Mile in Downtown Ferndale, to the large gathering space of Hart Plaza. Diversity-minded residents and businesses wanted a way to continue showing their support for the gay community, and they held some quickly-planned events.

This year the emphasis is on planning and there are some interesting things in the works. The Color Run, an event spearheaded by volunteers Brian Lane and Jay McMillan, is a non-competitive 5k run where every thousand meters the runners are splashed with a corn-starch based paint in a different color of the rainbow.

The SE Michigan Dyke March will be returning as part of the celebration, with a march through Downtown Ferndale on June 16.

There will also be a traditional Pride festival on Sunday, June 17 where community groups and vendors can have tables, and there will be music and entertainment. Other ideas are being explored, including events to be held inside Affirmations Community Center or possibly family-themed ideas for Fathers' Day.

"We have always meant this to be a way to show that Ferndale is welcome and supportive of the gay community, and we hope more folks will come out and share their ideas and get involved in the planning or by volunteering," said Craig Covey, one of the event organizers. "It's all springing up organically from people that live here and want to do different things. The Dyke March was started by a group of young people, and now we have this Color Run. It's going to be really fun and I hope we get more ideas as this gets closer."

To get involved with Ferndale Pride Planning, contact ferndalepride2011@gmail.com and check out the website at http://www.ferndalepride.com.

To learn more about Motor City Pride visit http://www.motorcitypride.org. Organizers are currently looking for volunteers, performers and sponsors for the event.

Hotter Than July

HTJ is building off sixteen years of experience in Pride planning. This year the Black Pride Society has partnered with KICK, the agency for African Americans to put on the six-day festival. KICK founder Curtis Lipscomb and Black Pride Society President Kimberly Jones are project managers for the event, and a record-sized committee of fifteen people has been established.

HTJ runs from Tuesday July 24 - Sunday July 29. Core events include a Candlelight Vigil, Kickin' on the River boat ride, a movie night, the 13th Annual Palmer Park Pride Picnic, and the Sunday brunch. The 17th Annual Gathering on LGBT Issues is also a key element of HTJ. This is a day of education and advocacy workshops with emphasis on community building and community action.

Each of these events has subcommittees, and community volunteers and involvement is being sought. They are also seeking sponsors and contributions to continue keeping most HTJ events free of charge.

Lipscomb is excited about KICK's role in the planning. "The big change over the years with Hotter than July has been with leadership. What's great now is that we understand the movement has to be strategic about shared resources. The more the mission is similar the more we can combine resources. What is great that KICK is it's in the position to bring more leadership to the event and we have an office where we can bring people together to work on these things."

The next planning committee meeting for HTJ is Thursday, March 29, 6 p.m. at the KICK office, 41 Burroughs Street, Ste 109 in Detroit. Those interested in getting involved or donating can contact Lipscomb at 313-285-9733. The Hotter Than July website is http://sites.google.com/site/detroitshotterthanjuly.

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