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Black Pride RVA

Our community is making history with the inaugural Black Pride RVA being held this weekend. Local activists share their thoughts as to why a Black Pride Festival is needed:

BPRVA Lacette CrossThe Rev. Lacette Cross, one of this year’s festival organizers, shared that “Black Pride RVA is a weekend of events. The Saturday Day of Purpose is a festival with a purpose. There will be workshops, HIV testing, health and fitness vendors, entertainers and music. We seek to celebrate, educate and empower through a multidimensional event.”

“It always surprises me when persons ask about the difference in my journey as a Black LGBTQ person and a White LGBTQ person. The question in and of itself overlooks the diversity of our humanity, the intersectionality we all possess and the impact of a white supremacist culture. My journey is different simply because I am the person I am not only because I am Black or I am LGBTQ.”

 

Ayana ObikaAyana Obika shared, “I don’t see Black Pride celebrations as being divisive or separatist. Because they are not exclusive. Just like Richmond’s Que Pasa Festival or the Irish Festival, they are a celebration of the culture and history of a group of people and offer an opportunity for others to learn and appreciate that culture and history.”

“Black Prides offer opportunities for the centering of voices of Black LGBTQ folks which is often missing from traditional Pride Festivals. I believe that the lived experience of Black LGBTQ people is very different than the experience of white LGBTQ people in that not only will a Black LGBTQ person experience discrimination based on sexual orientation, the experience of racially based discrimination is very much an everyday experience to most Black LGBTQ people. I am grateful to the folks who took on the challenge of making this happen in our city.”

 

Zakia McKenseyZakia McKensey believes, “This event is not designed to separate us, but to uplift our communities and use our voices and resilience to celebrate the beauty of Queer People Of Color. The stigma within the African American community related to the LGBTQ community is one that is plagued with violence, compiled levels of discrimination, being ostracized from loved ones and even death in some cases for living your life authentically. Black Pride is a message to our community that we matter and we deserve our place in society to be respected and given a voice to celebrate our diversity.”

 

Jacques MonegainJacques Monegain added, “Enlightenment and education about our differences and similarities would create better understanding.”