Boston Pride announced Monday that it will postpone most of its virtual Pride Month events to support communities impacted by police brutality and systemic racism.
“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,” officials said in a statement.
After announcing in April that the traditional Boston Pride Parade and Festival would be canceled due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus, Boston Pride officials organized a dozen online events, including a virtual dance festival and an LGBTQ veterans’ panel.
Now, only two of those events will continue as planned. The virtual Pride Lights ceremony, which honors those who died during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, will take place on June 9. During the signature event, which will be live-streamed, Blackstone and Franklin Square parks will be illuminated with pink lights.
The virtual Pride Festival will also take place as scheduled on June 13; however, the concert portion of the event has been canceled, officials said. Instead, participants will be invited to interact with various community organizations through an online portal.
All other virtual events will be postponed, officials said.
Boston Pride will continue its “SHOW YOUR PRIDE” social media initiative from June 12 to 14, during which community members will be invited to decorate their windows, porches, doors, and cars with Pride colors. Participants also are invited to share photos of themselves, family members, and pets in Pride outfits. The organization encourages participants to share messages of support for #BlackLivesMatter as part of the campaign.
In the statement, Boston Pride officials acknowledged that the first Pride marches were protests against systematic oppression and police violence, similar to protests that sprung up around the country following the killing of George Floyd. Officials said they are working to collaborate with organizations that serve communities of color, and to develop programs and events that prioritize anti-racist efforts.
“We have asked the community to send suggestions on how to improve our organization and better support LGBTQ+ communities of color as we create a plan for short-and long-term actions,” they said.
Abigail Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.