Boston Pride on Monday announced it was postponing many of its virtual events to celebrate Pride Month in order to focus on supporting calls for racial justice that have swept the nation in recent weeks.
“Events over the past week have led the Boston Pride Board to examine itself and acknowledge that it needs to do more as a social justice organization to take substantive action to better address racism and white privilege within Boston Pride, the LGBTQ+ community and society at large,” organizers said in a statement.
“Boston Pride is working to collaborate and support organizations that serve communities of color and address racism, to ensure that our organization, programs and future events prioritize anti-racist efforts.”
The move comes after Boston Pride in April announced they were postponing the 50th anniversary of Boston Pride Week and the Boston Pride Parade until June of 2021 over coronavirus concerns.
The Boston Pride Festival had been scheduled from June 5 to June 16, and the parade was scheduled for Saturday, June 13.
Last month, organizers announced a series of virtual events to commemorate the occasion, including a virtual Pride festival and concert, panel discussions and the raising of a rainbow flag at City Hall.
But those plans have changed in light of the protests that have erupted across the nation following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.
“The first Pride Marches in the US were bold protests against systematic oppression and unjust police violence experienced by LGBTQ+ people, especially those who experienced multiple forms of oppression,” Boston Pride organizers said.
“In support and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement, Boston Pride is shifting its focus from the virtual events that were planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to events that uplift and support Black and Brown communities.”
Organizers said the virtual "Pride Lights" ceremony would take place on Tuesday as scheduled, commemorating the lives that were lost during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The virtual Pride Festival will take place Saturday, but without entertainment. Community organizations who traditionally would have had booths at the Pride Festival will be able to interact with the public through an interactive portal.
Boston Pride will also carry on with its social media initiative, “SHOW YOUR PRIDE,” which encourages people to show their pride by decorating their windows, doors, porches, yards and pets and share their photos using the hashtag #wickedproud. Organizers encouraged people to also use the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter to show support to those calling for racial justice.
Pride organizers also asked people to send them suggestions on how to support LGBTQ+ communities of color.