For immediate release
Today Borderland Pride issued the following statement:
“Borderland Pride has received several inquiries from community members about the status of our annual Pride Week festival in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to monitor the advice and direction of public health officials on both sides of the border. As such, we are presently of the view that we are unable to proceed with any in-person Pride events in June or July 2020. Even if restrictions on gatherings were to be lifted soon, the continuing uncertainty complicates our ability to make the necessary arrangements for our usual Pride Week celebration. We share these challenges with many other large event organizers who have had to cancel or postpone their summer festivities.
“Obviously, this news is disappointing for the many people in our community who have come to see Pride Week as an important initiative to strengthen our community, build confidence and belonging for young people, and celebrate summer with a positive message.
“We are disappointed too, as we have built tremendous momentum and demonstrated growth in our festival over the last two summers. We are proud of those achievements and of our community’s embrace of LGBTQ2 inclusion and active participation in Pride events.
“Pride organizers around the world have had to cancel their events this summer. At this difficult time, we think especially of those who are experiencing isolation with unsupportive families or caregivers, and those who are unable to connect with or take advantage of other means of personal support that are normally available – such as school-based clubs and activities or our own LGBTQ2A Social Group. We are reminded that Pride is most needed where it is least visible.
“But the suspension of in-person events does not mean that our mission is cancelled altogether. We are doing everything we can to adapt our Pride lineup to the unique constraints of social distancing and a restricted international border. Several initiatives are underway:
We intend to reschedule some events for later this year, once it is safe to do so;
We have issued requests to local municipal and Indigenous governments requesting Pride Month proclamations and that a rainbow flag be raised for a week of their choosing in June;
We are in contact with our counterparts in other communities to look at alternative event formats for June 2020, including online activities; and
We will be rolling out a special initiative in the coming weeks which will allow all area residents to show that Pride lives in our community, even under the shadow of COVID-19.
“Our festival comes to life through volunteerism, community generosity, and participation. As in past years, we look to our allies and organizations in the community with ideas to celebrate Pride safely to come forward in the weeks ahead. We look forward to your creative ideas and energy to help us find and implement new ways to build awareness of LGBTQ2 issues and to promote diversity and inclusion in these challenging circumstances.
"We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Borderland Pride is the LGBTQ2A (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, two-spirit, and ally) Pride organization serving the area surrounding Fort Frances, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota, and the southern portion of Treaty #3 territory.