Blue Ridge Pride 2018
September 29 | Asheville, North Carolina
Welcoming Communities of Western North Carolina:
Diversity and Inclusion = Success
Everyone loves a festival. We are certainly proud of ours. We broke records: more entertainers, more visitors, more vendors and more varieties of beer than ever before. But we aspire to do so much more for the community we love.
We have ambitious plans for 2018. Click on the tabs below to see what we are working on. Soon, we will relaunch our web site and social media pages to better reflect our broader mission. We look forward to growing our community together!
WNC Community Center. We recently joined forces with Youth OUTright WNC and Tranzmission to open an LGBTQ Center in Asheville (417 Biltmore Avenue). We look forward to opening the center this quarter.
WNC Virtual LGBTQ Community Center. Our mission is to all of western North Carolina. Towards that end, we plan to launch a virtual community center that can support everyone – especially those living in isolated communities. Organizations that serve the LGBTQ and allied communities in WNC will be able to post their services, groups, events and resources in an easy-to-search database and calendar.
The online center will also provide a gateway to virtual services. We are in discussions with several developers for services such as virtual peer support groups, remote counseling, and an online “Identiversity”.
Anti-Racism Training. In partnership with leaders at several organizations, we have committed to a nine-month initiative to explore the hidden roots of racism. Why? We don’t simply want to invite others into spaces and events that we create. We want to co-create events and spaces that feel like home to everyone we aim to serve.
Coalition Work / Turnout Asheville. We have become a lot more active in coalitions this year. We are partnering with groups like Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE), Equality North Carolina, and Tranzmission. We are especially excited about Turnout Asheville, a coalition that is working to advance equality-focused legislation and to support equality-minded candidates.
Welcoming Communities of Western North Carolina. Lately, it seems like all we hear from are the haters. We are launching our Welcoming Communities program to give voice to organizations and individuals who throw out the welcome mat for everyone. We will also seek to help those who aspire to become more welcoming.
Blue Ridge Pride Festival 2018. This year marks a major milestone: our tenth annual pride festival. Like every festival, we aim to make this year’s bigger and better. We are hoping to incorporate a parade this year.
Diversity & Inclusion. We made some progress in diversifying our programming in 2017. But we aim to do so much more in 2018. For example, we have opened a dialogue about the Miss Blue Ridge Pride Pageant. Does it have to be “Miss”? Can we use the pageant to encourage more thoughtful discussion about gender, sexuality, culture, and identity?
Partnership. Events can have a strong allying effect. Beyond producing our own events, we plan to make it a priority in 2018 to support other organizations’ and communities’ events. We will also work with allied groups to establish a stronger LGBTQ presence at signature events and parades in 2018.
Blue Ridge Community Development Fund. We are committed to reinvesting any funds we raise back into the WNC community. This year, we have already invested over 400% more in local, non-profit initiatives than in any year past. In 2018, we plan to grow these investments another 400%. We are establishing a formal process that will allow local groups to apply for funding online and for the community to track our award decisions.
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