BOPA at Baltimore Pride Parade in 2019

Last June, the BOPA team joined the procession of the Baltimore Pride Parade in celebration of our LGBTQ+ community. Baltimore’s parade is one of the oldest in the nation, taking place for more than 40 years, and it was inspiring to see everyone gathered in colorful celebration.

We know that parades are canceled this year, but if this time of social distancing has taught us anything it’s how to be creative and innovative in the ways we interact while apart. There are still so many ways to celebrate Pride virtually and at home: Look to Baltimore’s community of LGBTQ+ artists, authors, musicians and creatives. Amplify their voices and art across social media. Donate to organizations that support the community. Hang a flag outside your door. Call out injustices and be an ally. Keep this momentum going even after Pride is over.

This momentum is important: just last week, at the midpoint of Pride, we saw a historic decision from the Supreme Court. The court’s ruling protects LGBTQ+ workers against discrimination and is long overdue. This a reason for celebration, but there is always more work to do. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the protests across our country today are reminders that our Pride celebrations must include the Black Lives Matter movement.

We are proud of Baltimore’s diverse, creative and vibrant LGBTQ+ community. We hope that by this time next year we can gather once again, all of us celebrating together on the parade route. In the interim, we should all commit to keeping the spirit that celebrates our diversity alive and well.

Donna Drew Sawyer
CEO, Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts

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