DETROIT – At their regular monthly planning meeting, on Jan. 25, LGBT Detroit Executive Director Curtis Lipscomb introduced Charlie Dickerson as the new project coordinator for Hotter Than July.
The annual week-long Detroit black gay pride celebration will turn 22 this year. The theme of this year’s pride will be Heritage. Lipscomb said at the meeting that HTJ is the second oldest black gay pride in the world – a fact that should make Detroiters very proud.
“We should really have our chests poked out,” said Lipscomb.
At the meeting, Lipscomb announced that the HTJ committee had a fundraising goal this year of $60,000 “in order to barely reach [our requirements]. … Hotter Than July has never made money. If you want to lose hair and fight a lot, do prides.”
Bringing ‘Freshness’ to HTJ Planning
Much of the meeting was facilitated by Dickerson, whom Lipscomb introduced early on. In addition to his role with HTJ, Dickerson joined LGBT Detroit in December as its new program coordinator. A native of Birmingham, AL, Dickerson moved to Detroit in 2012. Last year, he admitted, was his first time attending any HTJ events, specifically the picnic.
“I wasn’t able to really connect with the other events due to work,” said Dickerson. “I really can’t speak much on what needs to be improved. I just know that I will be helping to support this year’s HTJ. So what happened last year I’m not really concerned about as this is a new year with new faces and new people in the room. So we are definitely going to make some great changes with HTJ that will benefit everyone.
“Every day is a learning experience,” Dickerson continued, speaking of his dual roles with LGBT Detroit and HTJ. “Because I work for LGBT Detroit I’m able to really dive in deep and learn what it means to run such an event as HTJ. Even though I wasn’t here for the early years I would have been a little child so I wouldn’t have been able to participate anyway. Not with the parents I had.”
Lipscomb, whose LGBT Detroit has produced HTJ since 2012, has developed a reputation for continuously infusing the HTJ planning committee with new blood and introducing the celebration to a new generation. He said he’s happy to have Dickerson on board.
“I welcome Charlie to this new role,” Lipscomb said. “We had a successful January gathering of 25 folks from various sectors of our movement thanks to the help of our partner and champion, Community Health Awareness Group. With new energy and commitment to the project, Charlie brings freshness and a new and important point of view to Hotter Than July organizing.”
Seven events are planned for this year’s HTJ, including the candlelight vigil opening ceremony, an opening party, a fine arts reception, a day-long conference, a picnic celebration in Palmer Park, a worship service and a brunch. The next HTJ planning meeting will take place Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the CHAG offices, which are located at 1300 West Fort Street in Detroit. Everyone is welcome.