After a significant hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, Phoenix Pride is back! To that extent, we invited the organization to tell us how they will be addressing safety for all who attend this fabulous event!
Phoenix Pride is committed to putting the safety, security and wellbeing of our entire community above all other priorities.
As an organization, we have continued to closely monitor the global situation around COVID-19 transmission, and our staff and board of directors have been in regular touch with each other and with our partners in public health and public safety, at all levels, to inform our decision making regarding plans, policies and procedures with regard to COVID considerations.
Though it has been painful to do so, Phoenix Pride has three times postponed our signature annual event, the Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade. The decision to move that event was not undertaken lightly, and each time it involved hours and hours of discussions, research, review, analysis and re-evaluation of the best data and guidance available from the best and most credible sources.
Similar consideration was given to the decision to move forward with holding our 40th Annual Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade on November 6-7, 2021.
Phoenix Pride has made a steadfast commitment to follow the CDC guidelines for large gatherings. We are holding this event in a huge outdoor area, in wide open air in most places (and with well-ventilated tents in the others), and with more than 60 acres of occupiable space. In addition, and in accordance with specific guidance from CDC:
- All attendees for both the festival and the parade—including staff, volunteers, vendors, participants, spectators, festivalgoers—are being encouraged to be fully vaccinated prior to the event;
- Phoenix Pride will be offering on-site COVID-19 rapid testing and on-site COVID- 19 vaccine administration, throughout the festival’s operating hours, as part of the festival’s Health and Wellness Marketplace;
- Personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and disposable gloves, will be available at no charge to anyone entering the festival grounds in any capacity;
- Plentiful hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the festival grounds, and Phoenix Pride has secured an ample supply of hand sanitizer; sanitizing stations will be monitored and stocked on an ongoing basis throughout the event;
- Custodial staff/vendors will be sanitizing all high-touch surfaces throughout the festival grounds on a regular ongoing basis, per standards established in consultation with public health authorities;
- Booths and fixed spaces on the festival grounds will be placed to maximize social distancing and provide ample space for open movement throughout the festival grounds;
- Pride’s leadership continues to monitor current data regarding COVID-19 trends and remains in consultation with our public health and public safety partners at all levels of government, as well as our relevant community partners, and will revise or update policies as necessary, based on the latest and most reliable scientific and public health data available.
National survey data compiled by the Human Rights Campaign and Community Marketing and Insights (CMI) earlier this year, shows a self-reported vaccination rate in the U.S. LGBTQ+ community of over 90 percent. 90 percent! Not only is this great news for the health prospects of our community, in general, but it is a strong indicator that the majority of our attendees are likely to be vaccinated. And, as our allies tend to be liberal minded in their thinking, as an aggregate, and given the national numbers reflecting vaccination rates tied to this ideology, we believe that the vast majority of our allied attendees will be vaccinated, as well.
The same survey data also indicate another critical statistic: Respondents were asked “How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you?” and were given a broad list of responses, instructed to select all that apply. By a margin of more than nine points, the number one response (at 59 percent) was “COVID-19 has made me feel more socially isolated.”
Throughout the pandemic, we have been highlighting the fact that for the LGBTQ+ community, Pride is more than just a party or a concert. For many among us, Pride represents the one time of the year—a mere 48 hours—when they can be who they truly are. When they can own and display and be fully secure, fully comfortable, fully welcome in their identity. Many, even here in Arizona, do not have protections in housing and public accommodations on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Arizona, as a state, has no laws protecting these rights.
Providing that safe space, for individuals of any stripe—but especially those under the LGBTQ+ umbrella—is one of the core missions and purposes of Phoenix Pride. After two-and- a-half years since our last Pride Festival and Parade, our community is in need of this event for our collective wellbeing, as well as for our personal mental and emotional health.
As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, no one benefits individually from the revenue raised from Phoenix Pride’s events. Instead, the proceeds continually flow back to the community, through our Community Scholarships and our Community Grants Program, which have given back more than $1 million combined, throughout the programs’ history. And while the pandemic has created myriad challenges for our organization and our community as a whole, we have been extremely fortunate with the generous support we have continued to receive from our corporate partners and presenting sponsors—support for which we have been, and continue to be, overwhelmingly grateful. Because of that support, we were able to present our scholarships in 2020 and have continued to build our grants program, as well, despite the fact that we have not held a major event since the fall of 2019.
It is our firm belief that by strictly adhering to the CDC’s guidelines, by acknowledging the high vaccination rates in our community, and by remaining vigilant in our monitoring of ever evolving circumstances (and responding accordingly), we will have a 40th Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade that will not only be worthy of such an amazing milestone, but one that will be safe, will be healthy, and will be memorable for our entire community, as we finally come back together to renew and reaffirm the strength and health of our community’s pride.
We look forward to seeing you on November 6th and 7th in Downtown Phoenix, and, as always, we wish you a HAPPY PRIDE!
ABOUT PHOENIX PRIDE
Phoenix Pride is the producer of the two largest annual public LGBTQ+ community events in Arizona: The Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade, and the Rainbows Festival. Founded in 1981, the organization engages year-round in its mission to unite, educate and engage people to support and empower the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Additional information regarding Phoenix Pride is available online at the agency’s website, http://www.PhoenixPride.org.