LANSING – In a community meeting Saturday, the board of Michigan Pride made it clear to about 30 Lansing area LBGT and ally community members that the annual pride event will happen in June of 2009. This, despite a debt of about $5,000, down from an $11,000 deficit this fall.
“This event is going to happen (on) June 13. Mark your calendars,” Michigan Pride Senior Co-Chair Candice Risner told the gathering.
During the hour-long meeting, which included representatives from Michigan Equality, Lansing Association for Human Rights, Unity of Greater Lansing, Spiral Dance Bar, Suits in the City and the Pride Band, the community had a lengthy discussion about potential partnering with a Lansing-area organization. While Risner originally indicated such a partnership might be most reasonable with Unity of Greater Lansing, the conversation quickly moved to a focus on LAHR becoming that partner group.
Risner said the discussion to partner was the result of discussions she had had with the Arcus Foundation about possible funding.
Also on the table for the discussion were issues about where to hold the festival and whether or not they should have a rally at the capitol.
Downtown Lansing is currently undergoing a series of major construction projects, including the redevelopment of the idled Ottawa Street power station, which is located near the Riverfront Park where the festival is held. It also sits upon the traditional parade route for the march.
Penny Gardner, president of LAHR, proposed the march and rally be scrapped and instead the community participate in the parade to celebrate the 150th birthday of Lansing in May. Monique Guch, representing Suits in the City, supported that proposal. LAHR is already planning to have a presence in the parade.
“We can walk in the parade with signs,” said Gardner.
Gardner and others also proposed having a side event during the celebrations for the city’s birthday. The side event would act as a political event for politicians to be seen, Gardner and others said. The birthday event is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, in Lansing.
Lansing City Council member at large Carol Wood was also in attendance. Wood, who is a supporter of LBGT equality, was asked how the Lansing community would respond to the LBGT community using the event to add a political event. She said it would make some uncomfortable.
In terms of location, it was discussed that the festival should be moved to Lansing’s Old Town section. Old Town is a region in the city where two of the city’s gay bars are located and also serves as a hub of artistic activity– featuring galleries and performance spaces. The area, which was the original commercial district for the city of Lansing, regularly hosts popular festivals including Festival of the Sun, Festival of the Moon, OktoberFest and a jazz festival.
No decisions were made on where the event would be located for this year.
The Michigan Pride board also announced that they are seeking to fill several positions including youth outreach coordinator, volunteer coordinator and treasurer. All three posts, plus a junior co-chair position, are board positions.
Go to https://www.pridesource.com for an exclusive video interview with Michigan Pride Senior Co-Chair Candice Risner.