CLEVELAND — The organizing committee for Cleveland’s gay pride celebrations last week defended their use of corporate sponsorship and announced a preliminary schedule of events for June.
Elise Bigley, media coordinator for Cleveland Pride, sent out this statement:
In the past several years, we all have witnessed companies face controversy and criticism regarding their positions on LGBTQ issues. Between Chick-fil-A, Target, Hobby Lobby, and others, taking a stance on either side of the political spectrum is clearly a risky move. However, in the current political arena, I believe it is more important now than ever for corporations to be open and honest about their policies. It ensures that employee and customer expectations are in line with what the company will offer, whether in regards to bathrooms, health insurance, gender neutral clothing, and so forth.
Once a company decides it is worth the risk to show their support for the LGBTQ community, they will find that aligning themselves with LGBTQ-focused organizations is a great way for them to show their inclusivity and dedication to diversity in all its forms. Participation can range from volunteering, marching in a parade, or being a financial sponsor. Even support on Social Media can go a long way. As the media coordinator for Cleveland Pride this year, I have witnessed this firsthand. It can be a challenge to start dialogues with these companies, but once you form the relationship, the rest falls into place. Cleveland Pride’s 2017 collaborations with US Bank, the Cleveland Fusion, Ideastream, Walgreens, and Giant Eagle, among other organizations have been mutually beneficial. I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible community leaders from all different backgrounds who are, in their own ways, LGBTQ activists making waves toward positive change. Together, we spread the word about their causes and in the process, show the community how our collective strength can truly make a difference.
When corporations and nonprofits come together toward a common goal, their impact has reverberating effects throughout the city. Community members’ concerns are validated, resources are spread to a wider audience, and relationships between groups have long-lasting effects. Cleveland Pride Inc. hopes that the community will join us in this effort on June 24, 2017 at Voinovich Bicentennial Park for our 28th annual parade, rally, and festival as “United We Stand OUT” in support of the past, present, and future of our LGBTQ community.
This year’s schedule include:
May 27 – The Kick Off to Cleveland Pride. They are partnering with professional women’s tackle football team, the Cleveland Fusion, for their Memorial Day Weekend game to raise money for Disabled American Veterans.
June 23 – Documentary film screening of Out of Order at Fairmount Presbyterian Church.
June 24 – The 28th annual Cleveland Pride 2017 at Voinovich Bicentennial Park