by Jessica Carreras
Dave Wait, like many others in the LGBT community, took on a huge job – for no pay. The 49-year-old Whitmore Lake resident is this year’s Chair of Motor City Pride, in addition to a full-time job as the director of Michigan DECA and an active board member of the Triangle Foundation. But more than any of his jobs and responsibilities, this weekend, Wait just hopes to provide southeast Michigan with a great Pride celebration and a sense of community that will last a lifetime.
1) What are you most excited for in this year’s Motor City Pride?
I’m most excited about the new layout, extending down West Nine Mile Road from Woodward Avenue all the way to Livernois. This footprint will allow participants greater access to all of the various activities taking place. In the past, we were on two parallel streets, one of which was narrower than Nine Mile. The larger layout will allow us to add several things that were not at last year’s Street Festival: Dykes on Bikes, The Tretter History Area, the Youth Area, which is being coordinated by the Ruth Ellis Center, and two full size stages of entertainment. These additions will join the popular Babylon Beer Garden, and over 120 venders, exhibits and food booths.
2) Why did you decide to take on the job of planning pride?
When the chair position opened up after last year’s event I decided to step up to the plate. Becoming chair was a logical progression after rotating through various other leadership positions with volunteers, logistics and programming over the past few years. I started helping with Pride several years ago, after I had a chance to meet so many people that told me how Pride has been a big part of either their process of coming out, or realizing that there was such a large affirming group of peers in the community.
3) What have been some challenges you’ve faced?
The major challenge has been securing the funding in this tight economy. We started with a very consultative budget and have been pleased with the support we have received from our sponsors and our venders. We are on track to meet our goals and know that this is an indication how much people are looking for low-cost activities where they can relax and be comfortable with friends and allies.
4) What do you hope attendees will get out of pride this year?
I’m hoping participants will come away with three things. First, affirmation from being a member of our community; Second, empowerment to get involved with one or more of the organizations that are working for positive change for our community; and third, an enjoyable day with 40,000 other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and our allies.
5) What are your plans after pride is over (community-focused or otherwise)?
After a day of rest on Tuesday, I plan on continuing my involvement as a member of the Triangle Foundation Board of Trustees. It’s a moving time to be involved as the organization works to assist individuals that have been victims of hate crimes and works to advance positive LGBT legislation in Lansing and across the state. It is also in important time to be involved as we develop a strategic plan that will shape our priorities for the years to come. And in my free time, work with others to begin planning next year’s Motor City Pride.
For more information on Motor City Pride, visit http://www.motorcitypride.com.