Pride month is here! For the entire month of June, we’re celebrating LGBTQIA+ pride, uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices, and supporting the diverse members within our community.
This month-long celebration brings parades and festivals to cities of all shapes and sizes, and Grand Rapids is no exception. Since the historical Gay Liberation Movement that started in New York City on June 28, 1969, the month of June has become an annual celebration of the resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community across the country.
Whether you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community or are just starting to learn more, here are 8 ways you can celebrate Pride Month right here in Grand Rapids!
1. Attend events throughout June
The Grand Rapids Pride Festival is the crown jewel of Pride Month celebrations. On Saturday, June 18 from 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Calder Plaza welcomes the largest one-day festival Grand Rapids has to offer. This year’s theme, TOGETHER AGAIN, celebrates the revival of Grand Rapids Pride following the COVID-19 pandemic. With live music, drag performances, comedy, spoken word performances, street fair vendors, food trucks, and more, Grand Rapids Pride is back and better than ever!
Other events are taking place across the city to celebrate Pride Month all month long. The Grand Rapids Pride Center hosts regular social and support group meetings. Check out their events on their calendar, here.
2. Support local LGBTQIA+ owned and affirming businesses
LGBTQIA+ owned and ally-owned businesses are sprinkled all across Grand Rapids. Find entertainment at the Happy Cat Café, shop downtown with Oh Hello Branding, or grab food and drinks at The Mitten Brewing. Additionally, explore Fisk Solutions for a variety of mental health resources and individual counseling, or discover your next summer adventure in the inclusive environment at Camp Blodgett.
For assistance with your business, 8THIRTYFOUR provides marketing and communications support for all of your branding, public relations, and digital media needs.
Finally, get involved and give back to the community with Arbor Circle, a non-profit that provides a variety of social services such as mental health care, foster care, and housing support in Grand Rapids.
3. Read about the purpose and history behind Pride Month
The first Pride Month was celebrated in 1970 to commemorate the famous Stonewall Uprising that occurred a year prior. Because of the events that occurred on June 28, 1969 and the resilience of the community, we now celebrate each June to remember the historic Gay Rights Movement celebrate LGBTQIA+ pride across the U.S.
Read more about the history of Pride Month and the Stonewall Uprising here.
4. Make sure your workplace is inclusive towards LGBTQIA+ individuals
This article by The Out Alliance lists best practices for creating inclusive workplace for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Read through some statistics behind LGBTQIA+ representation in the workplace and find suggestions on how to be more welcoming to LGBTQIA+ employees here.
This list of resources by The Safe Zone Project provides websites, reading materials, handouts, videos, and more. Utilize their resources to educate your team on LGBTQIA+ inclusion and provide resources to your LGBTQIA+ employees.
5. Refresh your terminology
One of the easiest ways to help LGBTQIA+ individuals feel included is to make sure you’re using the correct terms. Check out this easy guide to gender-inclusive language here.
6. Learn more about the LGBTQIA+ community and how to make your voice heard
The Grand Rapids Chamber’s OutPro council developed the Empower Toolkit: a resource for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies to turn to for educational resources and strategies for effective advocacy. Read here.
7. Support local LGBTQIA+ causes by volunteering or donating
The Grand Rapids Pride Festival is still looking for volunteers! Sign up here. Can’t make the festival? The Grand Rapids Pride Center accepts volunteers and donations year-round.
The Grand Rapids Trans Foundation is dedicated to helping the Grand Rapids Trans community transcend barriers and build equality.
Out On The Lakeshore is an organization dedicated to providing support to the LGBTQIA+ community from Grand Rapids to Holland.
The Grand Rapids LGBTQ+ Health Care Consortium connects health care organizations and community members to ensure inclusive care practices for all.
The AYA Youth Collective supports youth and young adults facing homelessness and instability, particularly at-risk youth in the LGBTQIA+ community.
8. Keep celebrating after Pride Month ends
Most importantly, don’t forget to continue supporting the LGBTQIA+ community after June ends. While Pride Month is a great opportunity to show some extra love to our LGBTQIA+ friends and colleagues, it shouldn’t stop when the calendar changes to July. Continue uplifting LGBTQIA+ causes and voices, instill inclusive practices in your organization, and make your voice heard!