When I was 18 my mom took me to my first pride. It was magical. I hadn’t yet come out, we were just a very liberal family. I remember how nervous I was going up to a drag queen and asking to have my picture taken with her. I had never even seen a drag queen! I experienced pride, I experienced joy and I experienced acceptance that I didn’t even know I was missing. ON that day I fell in love with Pride.
I knew on that day that Pride special. And because of that day, my whole family decided to volunteer at pride. The next year we showed up at the festival to move tables and chairs. We didn’t know what to expect but what we found was even more special than the previous year. What we found was family. And so started a tradition. Each year we showed up on the Thursday before Pride and we worked. We loved it.
The years went on and eventually, I came out. I also learned that I really enjoyed operations and logistics. I joined the Pride Committee and started training to take over the festival. I would learn about things I never knew I even wanted or needed to know. Things like electrical grids, city permitting, and safety measures of a park. But I couldn’t get enough. Our team would dedicate most, if not all, of our spare time and our payment was sitting in the middle of the festival on Saturday afternoon, as the crowd from the parade made its way to us and watch the joy that they were experiencing. And that was all the payment we could have ever wanted.
When an opening to join the staff of Stonewall Columbus and run the Columbus Pride festivities became available, I felt I had to act. I had become part of this team, this family, and I wanted to do my part. Now, 10 years after my first pride I am asking folks to take the leap I did. To help imagine the future of Pride. To come together with other community members to see how we can be better. There are endless ways to get involved with Pride, but in my opinion, joining the committee is the most impactful. The most rewarding.
Click here to express your interest in volunteering to become a part of the Pride planning team.