It’s still hard to look down University Ave. and know that it wasn’t brimming with hundreds of thousands of cheering people in 2020. When I walk through Balboa Park and see the empty spaces that would typically be filled with tens of thousands of people dancing in the San Diego summer sun it’s hard to reflect on how many new community connections to direct services, social groups, and found family weren’t able to occur. We have all mourned the joy, love, celebration, and movement building we were denied because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As it rages on, we mourn the loss of life that impacted people all over the globe, including friends and family of staff, board, volunteers, and community members.
Yes, there is a vaccine, but the rollout has been slower than expected. Without clear federal leadership, funding, and a plan to vaccinate the U. S. population, it’s nearly impossible to plan any large gatherings with certainty. With that said, we want to ensure we’re keeping you all in the loop of how we’re moving forward with planning this year’s Pride celebrations.
Our board, staff, and volunteer leadership team has been working since the fall on contingencies for interactive virtual gatherings, a full in-person event, and a mid-road of both live streaming content with scaled back in-person events. While in a typical year we would have already begun selling tickets, parade contingents, and festival booths, we understand that it’s a lot to ask for folks to front those fees for an uncertain future. If it becomes clear in the next two months or so that a full in-person event is possible, we will ensure that discounted early bird rates will still be available this year. The only difference will be the duration of time that we will be able to extend those discounts. Free tickets will also still be available through our direct service-providing partners as well as for youth and volunteers.
The proceeds from our annual Pride events underwrite the costs of producing such a massive endeavor as well as our year-round programming and annual community grants. Last year, absent that revenue, we had to pause our grant program, but our Pride 365 programs continued on in virtual spaces reaching over 600,000 people. While I’m in awe of all that we were able to accomplish in 2020, despite how hard it was, nothing can truly replace the thrill and joy of a massive in-person Pride.
Our brilliantly diverse community has a history of resilience. We have built innovative pathways to overcome discriminatory laws, hate, violence, and issues of public health. We will make it through this. Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain your physical distance, and get your vaccination when it’s available to you. We’re almost to the other side of this, and soon we’ll be together again.
Together We Rise,
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
Invite your friends here!