ABOVE PHOTO: Christian Goodlette attends the Pure Heat Community Festival, part of Black Gay Pride weekend, at Piedmont Park on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, in Atlanta. Pure Heat Community Festival showcases the different meanings of pride with unity and celebrates a unifying force that provides the resources to promote and accomplish goals in human rights, education, outreach and a better understanding within the community of people from all walks of life. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
ATLANTA — Atlanta Black Pride organizers say the annual celebration will happen Labor Day weekend as planned with some precautions to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
The larger Atlanta Pride festival and parade planned for October were canceled Wednesday because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. But leaders of Atlanta Black Pride, which celebrates the city’s African American LGBTQ community, say they plan to go forward while encouraging people to wear masks and maintain social distance and having fewer indoor gatherings.
Amber Moore, COO and vice president of Atlanta Black Pride, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be followed.
“For indoor activities, you must wear a mask at all of our events,” she said. “For outdoors, we encourage everyone to wear a mask. Fulton County will be out doing vaccinations and COVID testing.”
The celebration, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year, is to feature events around the city, including some at Piedmont Park and celebrations on Sept. 4 and 5 in Central Park. In addition to parties, other events include a fashion show, a session on empowering women, an awards ceremony for the transgender community, a virtual film festival and a health expo.
Vaughn Alvarez, who is helping to promote some of the events held at Piedmont Park, told the newspaper that Atlanta rapper and radio host Da Brat and fiancee Jesseca “Judy” Dupart, CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products, will be honored for “bravery and courage with their love story.” The two star in “Brat loves Judy” on WE-TV.
“Can’t wait to celebrate this with everyone. Thanks for sprinkling a dose of glitter on my life Atlanta,” Dupart said in a news release.
Alvarez and Moore said they feel it’s vital to hold the even despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
“LGBTQ people of color are often subject to rejection, abuse and even daily persecution,” Alvarez said. “Pride is a time where all can lay their burdens down for a few days and not worry about the pressures of life.”
Moore said it’s also important to acknowledge the work and vision of the Black LGBTQ+ leaders who started the event.
“It is me thanking our founders,” she told the newspaper. “I thank those people who said in 1996, ‘Let’s do this.’ Because of them I can walk anywhere I want to and hold my head up high and not be ashamed to be a Black gay female.”