Pride Festival Celebrates and Empowers Grand Rapids’ LGBTQ Community
From June 16 through 19, the Grand Rapids Pride Center will be bringing people of all backgrounds together for the 28th Annual Grand Rapids Pride Festival. The festival, which is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, offers attendees a safe and inclusive environment to celebrate who they are, free from the judgment and stigmas that LGBTQ people still face in their communities.
And this year is looking to be largest one yet, with more than 100 vendors and festivities spanning a four-day weekend. A few highlights include the 2nd Annual White Party at Rumors Night Club and a performance from headliner Deborah Cox. “It is exciting to see the organization and larger community heading in such a positive direction,” says Mike Hemmingsen, the president of Grand Rapids Pride Center.
While the weekend is all about having fun, it does have a very serious purpose: To empower the LGBTQ community through support, awareness and celebration. Larry DeShane Jr., operations manager of the Grand Rapids Pride Center, hopes the festival brings awareness to the issues still facing LGBTQ individuals of all ages, especially at-risk youth.
The Grand Rapids Pride Festival is the year’s biggest fundraiser for the Grand Rapids Pride Center’s free programs and resources. Their programs focus on numerous LGBTQ issues such as depression, suicide, bullying, food insecurity, homelessness and poverty. The Center also offers education and resources to LGBTQ individuals and their friends, family and allies.
Interested in learning more about the Grand Rapids Pride Festival and a full list of festival events? Visit the Grand Rapids Pride Center website.
Photo credit: Terry Johnston