A Message of Pride
April 19, 2010
We thought it best today to address concerns regarding the Power & Light District Pride event.
First, let us say to the entire community....our mission statement reads as follows:
The mission of Show Me Pride is to Partner, Respect, Inspire, Develop and Educate our community promoting LGBT diversity and civil liberties locally and globally.
Since last year's Pride and with the help of a group of tireless volunteers, we have reached out to as many of our organizations as we could to glean feedback and requested changes for Pride 2010. In addition, we conducted a comprehensive survey - with nearly 400 respondents over 75 days - that asked pointed questions about each of our events, exhibitors, sponsors, and other relevant topics.
From all of these responses and taking into account social, fiscal, and liability issues - it was clear that the traditional Friday night event had to change. And as a result, we started a venue search committee to look at locations, activities, and ways to bring Friday's kick off Pride event in line with our mission statement and make it more dynamic than the "party held in the streets" - as so many of the leaders of our organizations and respondents indicated it had become.
Several venues were considered for the event. By far the best offer came to us from The Power and Light District. The District came to us with a proposal that would eliminate fiscal concerns and considerable liability issues - and one that allowed us to fully realize every aspect of the mission statement above. Not one other venue provided us all that the District event offered us.
We now have the opportunity to partner with an organization that for the first time in many years that will take our entire community into the heart of the city and provide us high profile recognition for who we are. It gives us the chance to garner respect for being the amazing individuals we all are and to show our respect to an organization who recognized the meaningfulness of a great Pride event by offering the space and all associated costs free of charge to our organization.
In the new venue, we will have access to technology and facilities (such as jumbotrons, stage, lighting, facilities with covered spaces) that will produce moments for our community never before offered by any Pride organization. I guarantee that it will inspire not only our community....but our straight allies as well. We get the chance to develop a working relationship between two organizations that would advance human rights in our city and inspire others to do the same. And finally, we get to educate our community and our city about who the LGBT community is...what we mean to our society...to our nation...and to our world.
After again consulting key organizations and leaders within our community and taking into consideration the Pride mission and objectives, it was determined to accept the Power and Light offer and move in that direction as it seemed the clear choice by the majority.
Because every decision has pros and cons, there are naysayers. Unfortunately, the negativity espoused by groups opposed to this venue, has gone from constructive criticism to a hurtful and destructive tone.
It has never been our agenda - nor will it be - to do an event that will discriminate against any member of our community nor partner with any organization that does. It has not been our experience to see any prejudice against the LGBT community by the Power and Light District. In fact, quite contrary evidence as been demonstrated. They have hosted Bloom and BeerFest for KC Free Health Clinic, the AIDS Bicycle Challenge, and now our Power the Light with Pride. Not to mention NAACP events on the calendar for this summer.
It is not our agenda, nor will it ever be, to partner with anyone simply to gain financially without knowing that they support and advance our civil and human rights as individuals and as a community. As evidenced above, Power and Light has demonstrated their financial commitment to us, to our community by donating the space, the technical elements, the security, and the administrative efforts to sponsor and host this event, all the while recognizing the importance of our community to express our individuality by making this an event where our community is welcomed to express themselves.
When we sought his guidance and advice on how to handle this issue, Reverend Kurt Krieger aptly pointed out that we all have paths to take. We invite protesters of Pride's Power and Light event to join us on our path. To understand that we are doing everything we can to advance your voice, your rights, your future. We understand that you may not be able to do that - but, we feel the necessity to point out that our organization would never try to unite any aspect of our community to protest you...your cause.....your organizational structure...or your beliefs. Such action is divisive and hurts the overall efforts of the LGBT community.
We took the time to meet with leaders of your protest for an entire afternoon and to provide acceptable compromises and prompt responses to your questions. Needless to say, we were blindsided by the facebook page that was created to protest not only the venue, but our organization as well. Note that as recently as last week, we offered a meeting between your leaders and P&L, only asking for them to provide meeting time options that worked for THEM, and as of this letter no response.
We have the written support of several LGBT organizations as well as statements of support from leaders within those organizations regarding our efforts this year -including plans for this event. We hope you'll join them - and us - in trying to show Kansas City the united force we can be. If not, we understand. You are on your path and we are on ours.
We look forward to seeing everyone at The Power and Light District on Friday night for "Power the Light with Pride" - sure to be an amazing event in LGBT history. With entertainment by the likes of Kansas's own Kristie Stremel, The Transients, The Bar-B-Q's, international sensation La Roux, our very own nationally recognized DJ Jerry Griffith, as well as the first remarks by Gilbert Baker, native Kansan and creator of the rainbow flag. Even videos of well wishes from local, national, and international supporters. We've planned an evening that shows Kansas City just what a celebration of LGBT Diversity is all about.
The rest of Pride week is equally exciting and we are so anxious to bring you each and every event that we are beginning to feel and see the goosebumps on our skin as we talk about them in committees. Join us that week for the following:
The Graffiti T-Dance
The Military Memorial
The premiere screening of Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride
An art exhibit, In Hate We Trust, a co-operative with KCAVP
Our first ever Lesbian party, Educational Symposiums, Interfaith Services, Quilt Dinner with OutMusic Award Winner Nhojj (who's video has been #1 on MTV's most watched videos)
The festival itself, at Penn Valley Park on June 5th & 6th, with so many new and revived activities, including a KidZone (complete with inflatables, toys, and a performance by Happy Faces Entertainment), the return of the mechanical bull and the MGRA
Our first ever Gay Volleyball tournament
Competitions by bartenders and drag queens, entertainers that encompass local, regional, and national entertainment,
The return of your parade on Sunday
...we are working endlessly to give you a festival that encompasses all you asked for with respect to all aspects of our community and events that are sure to have something for everyone.
Join us, won't you! May 31 - June 6. In the meantime, please visit our website at www.gaypridekc.com and click on Festival Week for all the latest information updated daily. You can also find our facebook page at Pride KansasCity or follow us on twitter @gaypridekc.
We invite you to attend our next meeting on May 5 at Spirit of Hope MCC Church, 3801 Wyandotte at 7:00 pm. We look forward to bringing you the 32nd annual Show Me Pride Festival and can't wait to see you at one or all of the events.
Rick Bumgardner (President)
Josh Krueger (Vice-President)
Matt Snyder (Treasurer)
Amanda Schuster (Secretary)
and the rest of the Show Me Pride Board (see About Us tab on website)