Does Your Group or Organization Roll Out the Welcome Mat?
We appreciate that this cancellation affects our exhibitors, vendors, and sponsors. We want to help you to recover or to redirect your funds as quickly as possible.
Our team reached a difficult but unanimous decision last night. We feel that it is in the best interests of our community to cancel our much-anticipated festival. This press release offers details on the decision process and rationale.
We are monitoring COVID closely, mindful that cancellation is a possibility. We describe the actions we are taking and invite community input to our decision-making process.
The Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance is partnering with photographer Lauren Merrell and Youth OUTRight to bring local businesses a unique opportunity. They are invited to become a Strength in Pride Art Walk Exhibitor for the month of September. It is a chance to stimulate foot traffic, educate the public, and support a local non-profit that serves LGBTQ youth.
Two years ago, we looked at 150 LGBTQ centers around the country. Most, we realized, were built around a brick-and-mortar community center. That may work in big cites, but what about rural communities? LGBTQ people (and other minorities) who live in rural areas suffer a double isolation. They are isolated by social stigma and by geography.
Next, we looked around western North Carolina. While the news is often dominated by bigots, the fact is, we are brimming with people, businesses, and organizations who strive to be welcoming. How to bring them to light and give them voice? How to help our community to find them? Our community is also home to the highest per capita concentration of non-profits. How to help them connect to the communities they wish to serve?
- Community News: If you have an announcement or news item that you consider worthy of community interest, email the story and picture to email@example.com. [Note: We will decide what to post. Contact us if you have questions. We are new to community-based postings. As we learn more about community preferences, we will publish more specific guidelines.]
- Directory Listings: To add a listing, you need simply be logged in. Register, Confirm your email, and Login.
- Calendar: You must be approved to make calendar entries. After logging in, request to be a Contributor. We reserve the right to approve, edit, and delete calendar submissions. Please don't spam the calendar with events and activities of little relevance to our community. There are plenty of other calendars out there!
- Build Our Welcoming Community. Our immediate priority is to build our listings. We want our community to know just how much support and good will there is.
- Training. OK, so we aspire to be welcoming and equitable. But we're not there yet. That's OK. It's hard work. As we build our directories of welcoming speakers, trainers, and resources, we plan to shift attention to getting all you loving people to sharpen your game by securing training, coaching and other tools from our community partners.
- More Directories & Services: In the fall, we plan to launch additional listings: job postings and help wanted; welcoming resources, welcoming workshops. We also hope to open up some of the tools we use to manage our own organization to other 501c3s in the area (e.g., volunteer openings, event signups, event registration).
- Welcoming Pages: Our eventual goal is to present the entire virtual center as a portfolio of welcoming pages. Examples include: Welcoming Schools & Youth, Welcoming Faith & Spirit, Welcoming Work & Commerce. [You get the idea.] Every event, news item, and listing is being coded to support these future pages.
- Sign Up. Add your welcoming group, company or organization to one of our listings.
- Share. Make liberal use of the share buttons at the top of each page. Let your friends know.
- Become a Community Ambassador. Our immediate priority is to build our listings. We want our community to know just how much support and good will there is. We are eager to enlist Community Ambassadors all over western North Carolina, volunteers who can build participation in the virtual center within their county, town, or organization. (Visit our volunteer page and apply.)
- Donate. Our goal is to make this service free to the community. We're starting the venture on a wing and a prayer. We hope that listers who can afford a donation will do so. If you can, kick in even a few dollars and let us know your zip code.
- Join Our Team. To make this a reality, we will need writers, graphics artists, and community leaders. We need volunteer leaders who want to build and manage this center. Our ultimate vision is to have Welcoming Pages that are curated by members of the community. Visit our volunteer page. Look at current openings or let us know of your interests.
- Give Feedback. Be Patient. We have peppered the site with feedback buttons. Let us know what's confusing or missing. Give us ideas for future rollouts. But please remember: we are a volunteer-driven organization. We manage this site around our day jobs!
A community-maintained calendar of meetings, events, and activities – all of which are welcoming and relevant to LGBTQ and allied communities. Where appropriate, listings are tagged for LGBTQ audiences that would find them of particular interest.
- Includes: Entertainment, Fun, Social Justice Events, Workshops, Seminars, Support Group Meetings, Group Outings & Activities, Fundraisers & Networking Events
- Who Should List Here? We welcome any listings that are welcoming of and relevant to the LGBTQ and allied communities. Events that target the general public are welcome, so long as they bear relevance.
- Inclusion & Intersectionality. While this calendar is focused on the LGBTQ community, we have included tags for events relevant to the BIPOC community, to Spanish-speakers, and to people with differing abilities. If there is sufficient interest, we will create pages devoted to such groups.
- What Should Not Be Listed Here? Businesses and venues: please don’t spam this site with every event you have. There are plenty of other directories for that. Help us to keep this content relevant.
Listers must affirm “the right of everyone to live as their authentic self, without fear of discrimination” and that they welcome all who come in good will. They may list certain restrictions. However, these must be listed explicitly for everyone to see. [Examples: A bar event might be only for people 21 and over. A support group might be limited to people with relevant background.]