Our story on the inner rumblings taking place within Tucson Pride, rumblings that have been going on long before the flight of 12 board members the past nine months, sparked even more calls from more people explaining why they had given up on Pride and even more who lamented they wouldn't be showing up this Saturday at the Kino Sports Complex soccer field off Ajo Way.
But one thing that was clear, folks did not want to see a Pride come and go this year without the traditional parade. That idea and the work put in to make it happen has unfortunately become another point of political contention in the mess that exists right now in our community — with parade posts being taken off the Tucson Pride Facebook page.
Here is what is happening, tomorrow, in conjunction with National Coming Out Day, Friday, Oct. 11, the Pride Parade starts at 6 p.m. in front of St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave. (staging begins at 5 p.m. in the parking lot east of the Cathedral behind the Scottish Rite Temple).
Because the parade is happening, Stuart Milk of the Harvey Milk Foundation, grand marshal for Tucson Pride, will lead the parade and honorary chair of the event is Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. To participate and more information, call Bianca Lucrecia at 222-2669 or 551-8373:
There is no official entry fee to participate. Instead the Parade Committee is asking for donations to help pay for the estimated $1,500 expense for police personnel, permits, insurance, printed materials and other support items. Donations from the public will be accepted along the parade route. A representative from each entry must sign a release form in advance in order to participate. This will be done in the staging area at the Check-In station starting at 5 p.m.
So, dust off those lawn chairs.
The parade route goes from the cathedral and travels north on Stone, goes past Broadway, Congress and Pennington. At Alameda the parade will turn left, going west, and finish at the Church Street entrance to Tucson Meet Yourself. Here at the Church Street Stage, also known as the AIDS Ribbon Stage, Mayor Rothschild and other dignitaries will officially welcome Milk to Tucson and present him with a Proclamation making it "Harvey Milk Day" in the City of Tucson.
So, the parade goes on, and the organizers saved the day in many ways. Involving the mayor and making sure Milk gets the welcome he deserves — the kind we know Tucson is known for. But here's a question for you, are you still going to go to Pride? Because, guess what, I'm going to suggest you do.
The folks who remained to put Pride together for this year, even if they are not going to be on your Christmas card list, have still worked hard to put something together and I think they really do believe in community. Some have said they are finally heading to Pride because there are now things for the kiddos to do — jumping castles, rock climbing wall and more. There are younger folks who have never been to a Pride before — this will be their first one. They will be there, probably oblivious about the inner workings and issues. And the entertainment really does look good. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a beautiful day. Admission is $10 and that's not bad.
Go because you know it will be someone else's first Pride. Go because in your heart you still believe in community, even if you're pissed. Just go.
Then, the next day, find out when the next Tucson Pride board meeting is and go. Don't start another organization. Don't give up. The folks who put the parade together didn't give up, so don't give up on Pride. Go to the next meeting. Everyone is watching now, so change has to happen. Go, roll up your sleeves and get busy for next year — but with a dose of reality. Be ready to 1) work on paying of the debt, 2) bring in former board members to train newer board members on how to do their job 3) do board development and work on how to run an organization properly and 3) be realistic on how to put together a large event like Pride.
Most important — thank the folks who remain and check those egos at the door. Bring ideas and discuss them with sincerity and respect. If you want to keep having Pride, if you want to bring the community back together ... go.