Denver Pride and Creating Change Denver 2015
Welcome to “The Mile High City!” – where the mountains look like they were painted onto the horizon and the air smells as fresh as ever. Denver is home to the country’s third largest Pride Festival and seventh largest Pride Parade. During Denver’s PrideFest music pulses through every vein and artery of your body and the voices of the marginalized are heard loud and proud. The weekend attracts people from all walks of life, and what from the outside might seem like a tremendous hodgepodge of misfits, there exists a strong sense of unity throughout the event in which each person fits perfectly into a colorful 325,000 piece puzzle of diversity.
That is the magic of Denver Pride.
For two whole days, a spell is cast over the entire city and everyone in it. The Pride Festival is the pumpkin carriage and you are your own Cinderella. Except in this story, there is no Prince Charming because you are your own hero. Pride is the vehicle that drives you to self-love. Pride season is a time of exploration and celebration – an exploration of identity and a celebration of queerness. It is a time to build community – not around the pain and suffering of a group of people, but around the strength and resilience of a group of people. Diversity, though, does not exist in just sexual orientation. Pride season is a reminder of the intersections of identity.
My name is Victoria Francisca Kim, and I am the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change (Creating Change) intern at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. On June 21st and 22nd, I got to experience all of the magic of Denver Pride. At first, I didn’t know what to expect of the weekend. Arriving in Denver with 2,500 Creating Change palm cards, close to 3,000 Task Force magnets, 4 rolls of Task Force stickers, a large box full of Task Force hand-fans, and another large box full of safer sex kits, I was a little intimidated by it all. I imagined sitting at a table, waiting for people to come up, and talking to them about the Task Force and more specifically Creating Change. For the most part, that is exactly what I did, but it was also so much more than that. I danced to the music playing in the background, smiled at the colorful costumes, and hugged the people giving away free hugs. The passion of Pride permeated Civic Center Park; it was contagious. I found myself getting excited when I came across someone else who was excited to learn more about the Creating Change conference, and I was thrilled when at the end of the trip my colleagues and I had successfully handed out every last item and recruited close to 100 people to sign up to volunteer for the Creating Change Conference coming to Denver in February 2015.
Creating Change, like Pride season, is a time of exploration and celebration. Over the course of its five days of workshops, plenary sessions, and receptions Creating Change grants attendees the opportunity to gain the tools and resources needed to transform their communities into affirming and liberated spaces so there might be Pride all year round. But Creating Change doesn’t magically happen overnight – it is a year round process that relies heavily on the enthusiasm and dedication of hundreds of volunteers and local host committee members.
If you missed the Task Force’s table during Denver Pride and are interested in volunteering for Creating Change, there will be an online registration form up on the Task Force website soon so stay tuned! The 27th Creating Change Conference will be held in the very city of Denver, Colorado from February 4 – 8, 2015. Come help us create change!