Capital Pride’s 2020 theme, #StillWe, is more relevant than we ever thought possible. These times have forced us to reflect and modify the actions we take in our fight for full freedom and equality. #StillWe speaks to the history of those in our community who fought for civil rights, stood up to the police at Stonewall, and those who battled and lost loved ones during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Unless we fundamentally alter our attitudes and behavior, the current social unrest will continue to manifest itself.
Since the founding of the Capital Pride Alliance (CPA) in 2008, we have been met with opportunities to rethink the role we play within the LGBTQ+ community. We provide opportunities for our community to be seen and heard. Therefore, the cancellation of traditional Pride events due to the pandemic created a difficult, stressful, and unique challenge. In the beginning, we retained hope that our events and those of our Pride partners would be able to take place. Soon thereafter, in consultation with our partners, we decided to rethink, postpone, or cancel all Pride events.
In June, the LGBTQ+ community had an “aha moment,” when people collectively were awakened to the systemic problems that exist within society and began to acknowledge the intersections that exist within our own community. CPA reviewed our previous actions and identified steps that we should take and the role we should play moving forward. We, along with Pride organizations around the world, have begun to analyze how we participated in systems of oppression. This has lead members of our organization, and many others, to engage in a dialogue to examine how we can transform our actions to individually address these issues.
We see our role as working with members, organizations, businesses, partners, and advocates to support those movements that facilitate sustainable change to these systemic issues. This prompted difficult and much needed conversations with community partners and our own team members. What we all acknowledge and proclaim is that #BlackLivesMatter, that #BlackTransLivesMatter, and that we must acknowledge the intersectionality that exists within the LGBTQ+ community.
We asked ourselves what we could do. It became clear that we must continue to look internally and we commit ourselves to change our governing structure, review our programming and relationships with members of the community, and strengthen the partnerships with local LGBTQ+ organizations. We are creating internal structures to ensure that CPA is inclusive and accessible.
We will continue our conversations with City Council members on defunding police and reallocating funds to social services, continue the Pride Talk series with The DC Center to discuss pertinent issues, and produce our Pride In The City web series to highlight our diverse community. We are being very thoughtful and intentional on how we show-up for the community, and welcome feedback from voices that we have not traditionally been connected with. As much as CPA is a voice in our community, we are only one of many organizations, and ask that everyone join us on this journey because we are all in this together.