What We Celebrate: The Grand Rapids Pride Festival

By Randy Burson II

Kent District Library will be highlighting heritage and diversity events and festivals throughout the year and focusing on local organizations that bring awareness and engagement opportunities to our community.

June is LGBTQ Pride month, and KDL is celebrating the Grand Rapids Pride Center as they prepare for their upcoming events. The Grand Rapids Pride Center is a nonprofit organization that strives to empower the LGBTQ community through supportive services and awareness, and they have been doing so for 33 years.

Virtual Pride is on Sunday, June 20 and will feature tons of performances, spoken word, and readings. The best way to keep up to date on all things Pride Fest is to follow the Facebook page.

The Grand Rapids Pride Center is always working to provide programs for the community. Even though the Pride Center’s building is closed due to Covid-19, many of their programs and support groups are available in a virtual format. You can follow the Pride Center’s Facebook page to see events as they are added, or look at the calendar on their website to see a more collective view.

It’s important to mention that the organization is completely donor-funded, so folks are always encouraged to donate money if they are able. Jazz McKinney, Executive Director of the GR Pride Center, expressed that people interested in getting involved could volunteer their time in the future. “Most of our day-to-day operations are run by volunteers. When we open again, we will need people to staff the front desk, answer the door, clean the building and help set up at events,” they said. In the meantime, the best way to help would be to bring awareness to others about the work that the Grand Rapids Pride Center is doing. It’s important to share their events on Facebook and tell friends about the center.

KDL has created recommended reading and viewing lists for those wanting to learn more about LGBTQ culture and heritage. Check them out at kdl.org under our We Recommend booklists.