Last year “history” necessitated our parade converting into a Pride Car Caravan. Two important things that occurred arose directly out of extreme adversity. Our intention was in alignment with our mission: to build community by strengthening our visibility. The Pride Caravan helped us to deepen our sense of connection with our diverse community here in Southwestern Vermont in a few key ways.
First, we responded to the tremendous need to increase our support of our BIBOC brothers and sisters here by inviting them to join our Pride Caravan. It was truly a pleasure having them join us! And words simply cannot describe the experience of our Pride Caravan driving in unity right through the Black Lives Matter rally in Manchester that day. We had to go around a few times. I didn’t want it to end, and I was not alone in that. It was incredible to feel the visceral power surging… the cheers…. the smiles…. the PRESENCE right in the center of Manchester. Decorated and honking carloads of families, people of all ages and all identities dispersed throughout town, just lingering and enjoying our comapny. Even though we couldn’t gather safely the way we wanted, we CAME TOGETHER in joy. Truly beautiful.
Secondly: The pure exhilaration of driving along the incredible natural beauty of our Vermont countryside and seeing groups of people throughout the country, gathering at farms, standing outside their homes, waving and radiating huge smiles and holding wonderful signs. Yet another unexpected gift, and I knew immediately that THIS was the birth of a tradition that we would continue even as we are able to resume our more traditional Pride Parade in town.
And so, here we are, coming up to a year later and we still are unclear as to exactly how our SUMMER OF PRIDE 2021 will manifest. But I am certain of one thing:
No matter what adversity may come:
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER.
Our commitment to building real connection that honors the worth of each and every one of us is unwavering! We will continue to strive to embody this core value- which is at the very heart of our work together- in every event and activity that we offer.
Plan to join us as we kick off our SUMMER OF PRIDE 2021 with PRIDE CARAVAN 2021 on JUNE 26.