We’re coming up on Pride season, people!
June is the time to celebrate the gays (queers, homos, bisexuals, unclassifiable sexualities, etc), and (lucky you!) I am here to be your host for all things queer in Portland from now through Pride month.
First thing, if you have some amazing queertastic event during the month of June that you’re dying to let Mercury readers know about, why don’t you shoot me an email at stephenmarcb at yahoo dot com with all the relevant deets. The Merc's Queer Guide hits the streets in early June, and it’ll be your one-stop-shopping source for all the amazing queer things going down this June (Latino Pride! Black Pride! Bear Pride! Dyke Pride! Regular Old Pride Pride!)
Second thing: speaking of Black Pride, it seems that this year’s celebration is a tentative “go” and scheduled for June 10 through 14, according to Unity Project of Oregon program manager Cory Murphy. In an interview last week Murphy, who says he’s newly installed as the director of this year’s Black Pride events as of last month, acknowledged that the Black Pride festival was struggling to raise money and get organized, especially in light of the pending legal action against former Unity Project executive director Alisa Simmons, who resigned from UPO and fled the state last year amidst charges of embezzlement, theft and fraud.
In spite of this spate of troubles, Murphy insists that this year’s Black Pride will be held, saying “at this point the organization is committed to continuing the tradition of putting on black pride in the city,” adding, “It would be a shame if that didn’t happen.” Murphy says he and a volunteer committee are “in the planning and implementation stage” for the festival, seeking funding and “doing what we need to do.”
Black pride has been an annual part of Portland’s gay pride celebrations for almost a decade, attracting “thousands of participants in different events,” according to Murphy, who says he’s been involved in planning the event since 2002. Murphy recently set up a Facebook page for the festival, hoping to raise $2,000 or “as much as we can,” he says, adding, “everything that we raise for black pride will go to programs for the LGBTQ African-American community.”
Murphy says no official Black Pride schedule, entertainment or budget has been set for this year’s event, and encouraged people interested in helping with the festival to reach him at corymurphy at unityprojectoregon dot org.