It’s year 19 and the theme is Happy Together. KICK, the Agency for LGBT African Americans, which produces the annual week-long celebration, has been holding Hotter Than July planning committee meetings since January.
“It’s still unique as the only black Pride that’s a multi-day event that isn’t just focused on parties,” said Curtis Lipscomb, executive director of KICK. “We’ve now rebranded as a social justice rally. We’re addressing issues around employment, health and education and changing laws. This year we are working on LGBT health data collection, charting African Americans around their health. And we’re also collecting more petitions for the Elliot Larsen Act.”
KICK has also expanded their LGBT in the D visibility campaign.
“We will have three billboards up during the month of July that highlight Southeastern Michigan residents and the HTJ activities,” Lipscomb said.
KICK is already looking ahead toward HTJ’s big anniversary next year.
“We’re really excited about the 20th anniversary next year,” said Lipscomb. “We already have our thumbprint on that. We’re very excited about what that looks like.”
To get involved in planning this year’s HTJ – or next year’s, for that matter – email [email protected] See the Pride Calendar for the week’s events.
Here’s a preliminary schedule of this year’s celebration:
Tuesday, July 22
Candlelight Vigil at the blue spruce memorial tree in Palmer Park near the pond. The vigil will begin at 6 p.m. and last through dusk. Free
Wednesday, July 23
Annual HTJ boat ride on the Diamond Jack. Boarding begins at 6:10 p.m. and the boat sets sail at 7 p.m. from the Rivard Plaza on the Riverwalk. The cost for this three-hour cruise is $55.
Thursday, July 24
Film Festival at Cass City Cinema. Come see the best in black lgbt cinema. Festival begins at 5:30 p.m. and lasts until 12:20 a.m. Admission is $20.
Friday, July 25
Annual Gathering on LGBT Issues. This all-day conference takes place at the Michigan State University, 4707 St. Antoine St. in midtown. Cost is free with required registration.
Saturday, July 26
Pride Picnic in Palmer Park. The fun begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until 8 p.m. with food, entertainment, vendors and more. Admission is free.
Sunday, July 27
HTJ worship service with Whosever Ministries. Location is 2930 Woodward Ave. and service begins at 11 a. m.
Sunday Brunch. Location has yet to be determined but this event will take place from 1 – 4 p.m. Cost $50 per person or $90 per couple.