Charlotte Pride & Charlotte Black Pride announce cancellation of in-person 2020 festival, parade, and community events

PRESS RELEASE
Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 6 a.m.

Media Contact:
Matt Comer, Charlotte Pride Communications Director
matt@charlottepride.org

CLICK HERE FOR A FACT SHEET AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

Charlotte Pride & Charlotte Black Pride announce cancellation of in-person 2020 festival, parade, and community events

Charlotte, N.C. — Charlotte Pride, the leader in LGBTQ visibility in Charlotte and the Carolinas, in partnership with Charlotte Black Pride, announced today that all in-person annual Pride events originally scheduled in July and August are cancelled.

This decision was not made lightly and both organizations have worked together out of collective concern for the safety, health, and wellness of our local community.

The cancellation affects the events of both Charlotte Black Pride and Charlotte Pride, including:

  • Charlotte Black Pride’s full week of activities originally scheduled for July 12-19, 2020, including its annual Charlotte Black Pride Expo on Saturday, July 18, 2020, and
  • the annual Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade originally scheduled for Aug. 1-2, 2020, including its full slate of other community activities July 24-Aug. 2, 2020.

“Our very first priority is the safety and health of our community and our events’ attendees, volunteers, sponsors, and other partners,” said Daniel Valdez (he/him), president of the Charlotte Pride Board of Directors. “We must do everything we can to prevent knowingly exposing our already vulnerable community to the uncertainties and risks of COVID-19. The most responsible decision in the face of the continued uncertainty over the pandemic’s trajectory is to cancel large-scale, public mass gatherings like our annual festival and parade. We know this decision will hit our community hard, as it did for our board, staff, and volunteers. In-person events may be cancelled, but we know that Pride itself can never be silenced. We’re optimistic for our future programs and already planning for virtual and, once we’re able, in-person events later in the summer and fall, as well as our 2021 festival and parade.”

“As we face uncertain times around the world, our main priority is to protect the health and wellness of our Black LGBTQ community,” said Shann Fulton (they/them), chair of the Charlotte Black Pride Board of Directors. “To that end, it is of utmost importance that we follow government rules and remain vigilant in our efforts to stop the spread of this deadly novel virus COVID-19. Celebrating who we are and how far we have come is always the motivation behind planning our Black Pride festivities. We realize they help to promote Pride in our community and to a higher degree, for some, the events are even therapeutic. The decision to cancel this year’s events weighed heavy on the hearts of our board members; however, we chose the only reasonable and responsible option to keep our community safe. It is my hope that we come out on the other side of this stronger and with a greater sense of community and pride. This too shall pass.”

“Charlotte’s annual Pride events are the highlight of the local LGBTQ community each year,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles (she/her). “The Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade is also one of the city’s largest annual events. The absence of this year’s Pride events is not only a loss for our local LGBTQ community, but also a loss for our entire city and its social and economic well-being. This was a tough decision by organizers, but a responsible one. I appreciate and applaud Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Black Pride for their concern for our city, and I look forward to celebrating with our local LGBTQ community again in 2021.”

“Decisions to cancel iconic and deeply meaningful events like a Pride celebration are never easy, but I commend Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Black Pride for their courage in making this tough decision amid incredible uncertainty,” said Charlotte City Councilmember Larken Egleston (he/him). “I am confident both organizations will find new ways to engage the community with a variety of programs and events throughout the summer and fall.”

After careful consideration of several options to postpone and reschedule events, it became clear that the most responsible decision was to cancel this summer’s in-person Pride events. The decision to cancel weighed heavily on organizers, given the events’ historic and meaningful place in the life of the LGBTQ community, as well as their impact to the greater Charlotte community.

In 2019, the Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade attracted more than 200,000 visitors over the course of its weekend event, including 23,000 out-of-town visitors generating more than 10,000 hotel rooms, a total economic impact of $8.05 million, direct visitor spending of $4.79 million, and $284,000 in Mecklenburg County tax revenue.

Hardest hit by these decisions will be other local LGBTQ community organizations and LGBTQ-owned small businesses — all of which find their single largest opportunity for engagement and support during the annual Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Black Pride events.

“The annual events produced by Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Black Pride are some of our organization’s most important outreach and education events each year,” said Debbie Warren (she/her), President and CEO of RAIN, which recently had to transition its annual AIDS Walk Charlotte into a virtual event. “These large annual events allow our staff to connect face-to-face with community members who benefit from our health services and others who support our critical community care work. RAIN is looking forward to new partnerships with these two organizations through the rest of this year to continue connecting with our community, and we look forward to joining together for Pride events in 2021.”

In lieu of in-person Pride events this summer, both Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Black Pride are looking toward a variety of digital and online events, including webinars, livestreams, and special celebrations and showcases of local LGBTQ artists, entertainers, activists, community nonprofits, and business owners. In the fall, Charlotte Pride will present its rescheduled Reel Out Charlotte, The Queen City’s Annual LGBTQ Film Festival, Oct. 24-Nov. 1, 2020, at Camp North End. Organizers say to expect beefed up community engagement and entertainment activities at the event. You can find more details about virtual and other upcoming programs from Charlotte Pride at https://charlottepride.org/virtual/ and from Charlotte Black Pride by following them at https://www.facebook.com/CLTBlackPride/.

Charlotte Pride intends to host the 2021 Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade on Aug. 21-22, 2021. Charlotte Black Pride will plan to host the 2021 Charlotte Black Pride Week July 11-18, 2021.

Charlotte Black Pride and Charlotte Pride are supported by a wide variety of other nonprofits and sponsors ranging from small businesses to some of the city’s most well-known corporate citizens. Both organizations are thankful for the continued support of their work from many sponsors who had signed on to sponsor the 2020 events which act as the primary fundraising activities supporting both organizations’ year-round community programming.

“Bank of America has been a longtime supporter of Charlotte Pride,” said Charles Bowman (he/him), Charlotte Market President for Bank of America, the presenting sponsor of the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade and a sponsor of Charlotte Black Pride. “We believe in its mission to enrich, empower, strengthen, and make visible the unique experiences of LGBT+ citizens in Charlotte and the Carolinas. We’ll do our part to ensure the success of the upcoming virtual events, and look forward to a day when we can once again come together in person to celebrate with our local LGBT+ community.”

“Every year, the PNC team looks forward to the excitement and celebration surrounding the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade,” said Weston Andress (he/him), PNC regional president for Western Carolinas. “The events bring the community together to honor the strength and resilience of our local LGBTQ community. While this year’s event must be cancelled, we will continue our support for equality and community, principles that define our remarkable city. That is something we can celebrate every day.” PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor of Charlotte Pride’s PNC Bank Festival Zone.

“Wells Fargo is excited to continue its support for Charlotte Pride,” said Jay Everette (he/him), Community Affairs Manager at Wells Fargo, the presenting sponsor of the festival’s Wells Fargo Stage. “As a long-time presenting sponsor we look forward to partnering to present this event in a virtual environment and show our support for our LGBTQ team members, customers and neighbors.”

Charlotte Black Pride would like to thank these additional sponsors who have stepped up in their continued support of the organization: Bank of America, Destini Productions, and St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church.

Charlotte Pride would like to thank these additional sponsors who have stepped up in their continued support of the organization: Bank of America, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Brighthouse Financial, Bud Light Seltzer, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Corning, Duke Energy, Equitable, Food Lion, K&L Gates, McDonald’s, Red Ventures, Regions Bank, Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, Truliant Federal Credit Union, and Walgreens.

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CLICK HERE FOR A FACT SHEET AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE PRIDE
Charlotte Pride is the leader in LGBTQ visibility in Charlotte and the Carolinas. We present and collaborate on programs, projects, and activities, including the annual Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, Charlotte Latinx Pride, Charlotte Trans Pride, Charlotte Women’s Pride, and Reel Out Charlotte, among others. Since its founding in 2000, Charlotte Pride has expanded its year-round programming and partnerships to better connect community members with its mission, vision, and values. It is now one of the largest LGBTQ Pride organizations in the American Southeast.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE BLACK PRIDE
Charlotte Black Pride is an organization consisting of volunteers interested in promoting a positive image of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex or asexual (LGBTQIA) gendered entities of color. Charlotte Black Pride works to promote LGBTQIA Pride primarily for, but not limited to, members of the Black community while building social awareness, embracing spirituality and celebrating the diversity that exists within our community. The vision of Charlotte Black Pride is to empower the hearts, minds, and spirits of all LGBTQIA people, while embracing diversity, uplifting the community, and working to bring social change.