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 [...]
Organizers of Michigan Pride have announced they will be moving the state-wide Pride event from the traditional June date to the end of August.
The move is expected to increase attendance for a variety of reasons, and it will enable the march and rally to reach more legislators since they are back to work at that time.
Michigan Pride Board Member Emily Horvath said attendance is one of the reasons for the move. “This year there were about 8,000 people. Attendance has steadily declined over the last decade. At its peak in the late 90s there were probably 15-20,000 people. But now there are so many opportunities to celebrate Pride in the state. It’s an absolute blessing, but it presents a conflict too.
“It’s incredibly important that we create space where people don’t have to choose between going to their local Pride or to their state-wide Pride. When it’s all crammed into the month of June it can be hard,” she said.
Local Pride events like West Michigan Pride, Motor City Pride, Flint Pride, Kalamazoo Pride, and Ferndale Pride draw in a combined estimate of over 100,000 and the trend continues to grow. With Michigan Pride moving to August, it gives people an opportunity to celebrate locally and then join together at the end of the summer for a bigger wrap-up.
The change of date has other benefits as well. Students will be starting to move to the area in preparation for college classes, and legislators will be back in session from their summer vacations.
“The big thing Lansing has to offer is political access,” Hovarth said. “This way we will have our political protest when the legislature is in session. Michigan Pride is not just a celebration, it is a rally. We march through Lansing, we go to the Capitol steps, pump our fists and listen to speakers. We organize and learn what we can take back to our communities.”
Horvath said that the Michigan Pride Board is committed to making the focus of the Aug. 24, 2013 rally more political, and using any money raised to help bring in highly recognizable speakers. Plans are in the works for a political action day, and the annual commitment ceremony is expected to grow as well.
“We have gotten away from the celebrating, because there is still a lot of work to be done,” Hovarth said. “It’s pretty clear considering the political climate. We still don’t have marriage equality. We can’t adopt our own children. We still do not have hate crimes protection and we don’t have protections in our jobs or in housing.”
The decision to move the date to August was not made on a whim. “I admit I was one of the people that was stubbornly attached to the month of June,” said Horvath. “June has always been Pride month. It took a lot of convincing for me. But we have to grow! We need to keep up the energy from the local Prides and wrap up the summer with one last push. And we want everybody there.”
Dave Wait of Motor City Pride reacted by saying “It’s an interesting move and I wish them lots of success.” Craig Covey of Ferndale Pride said, “If they are interested in being more political it should help to be there when the legislature is in. We wish them the best of success.”
For more information check out http://www.michiganpride.org, and to get involved contact Emily Horvath at firstname.lastname@example.org .