Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Crystal Proxmire
How many ways can you honor your black gay and transgender heritage? That’s what the organizers of Hotter Than July! are trying to find out. With a week’s worth of events there is plenty to keep Metro Detroit’s LGBT population entertained, engaged, educated and empowered. Events include a family picnic, a speaker series, a film festival, workshops on activism and leadership, a candlelight vigil and plenty of time to be social and have fun.
Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, Regional Field Director for the Obama Campaign Lacey Dawson, Congressman Hansen Clark and Dr. Kanzoni Asabibi of the Bureau of Substance Abuse will take part in a forum about leadership and community involvement. “Most of the Prides have been about parties and fun,” said Cornelius Wilson, Committee Chair for the Annual Gathering for LGBT Issues. “We wanted to have a focal point where the community is educated and informed, not just on LGBT issues but on other things they may need to know.”
He added that Rob Turner of Community Health Awareness Group would be there to discuss healthcare, activists would be explaining KICK’s Stand Up and Be Counted voter engagement efforts, Rev. Darlene Franklin would speak about faith, and The National Black Justice Coalition would have someone on hand to talk about LGBT issues.
“This is a pivotal year for people to come together,” said Wilson, who has been part of HTJ since it began in 1996. Many KICK volunteers have taken part over the years, though the event has historically been put on by the Black Pride Society. This year BPS and KICK have officially combined forces, giving this year’s event an even stronger organizational team and a melting pot of ideas for events and partnership opportunities. Seven committee chairs each lead a team of volunteers, and Wilson thinks this will be the smoothest-running year yet.
“It’s all trial and error, things you learn from year to year,” he said. “You can plan it so perfect but there will always be a monkey wrench. We know how to handle those, and that’s the important thing. We are always going to make it happen.”
Wilson remembered the early years of HTJ. “From our perspective back then when we did special events we didn’t realize we were bringing the community together. It started out just for fun. But it’s gotten big. And it’s made a difference.”
Another key feature of HTJ is that it takes place at multiple venues throughout Detroit, giving the community increased visibility. Kickin’ It on the River takes cruisers away from land, while the HTJ Film Festival is at the historic Burton Theatre, The Sunday Brunch is at the Detroit Yacht Club, and the Annual Gathering for LGBT Issues is at the Hilton Garden Inn. Of course several events will be at Palmer Park, including the candlelight vigil and the family picnic.
For more information check out the schedule below, and the official website https://sites.google.com/site/detroitshotterthanjuly/.
Hotter Than July! 2012 Official Schedule of Events
The 17th Annual Candlelight Vigil
July 24, 6:00 p.m. to Dusk
Place: Blue Spruce Memorial Tree, Palmer Park, Detroit, MI
An interfaith candlelight vigil and spiritual awakening;
We pay respect to those that have gone on before and rejoice in our lives and freedoms.
KICKIN’ IT ON THE RIVER
July 25, Boarding at 6:30 p.m. and sailing promptly at 7:00 p.m. from Rivard Plaza on Downtown Detroit’s Riverwalk. A three hour cruise on the Detroit River.
Cost: $55.00 per person
At The Movies
July 26, 5:30 p.m. to 12:20 a.m.
Cass City Cinema, 3420 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
Cost: $20.00 per person
At The Movies is the HTJ film festival, an organized presentation of feature and/ or short films.
The 17th Annual Gathering on LGBTQ Issues
(formally The Genesis Conference)
July 27, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, 351 Gratiot Ave. Detroit, MI 48226
Cost: Free with required registration
The Gathering is a day of education and advocacy with an array of interactive and informative workshops covering issues of importance to women, men, transgender, youth and elders. The Gathering offers an excellent educational balance to all the fun and frolic experienced at Pride.
Official Friday Night Party July 27
The 17th Annual Palmer Park Pride Picnic
July 28, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (March begins at 10:30 a.m.)
Palmer Park, Detroit, MI
The pinnacle event of Detroit’s annual pride celebration is like a family reunion and you’re invited. Each year the Palmer Park Festival is host to over 20,000 guests taking a moment to celebrate culture, self-empowerment and identity. The day features music, entertainment, and everyone is encouraged to bring your own picnic basket and maybe even pitch a tent.
Official Saturday Night Party July 28
The 17th Annual Sunday Brunch
July 29, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Detroit Yacht Club, One Riverbank Rd., Belle Isle, Detroit, MI 48207
Cost: $75.00 per person, VIP $100.00 per person