By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Newspaper
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – In solidarity with the majority of Pride events worldwide, OKC Pride will host the first ever OKC Virtual Pride Week Festival & Parade from Monday, June 15, through Sunday, June 21.
OKC Pride Festival Weekend, originally scheduled for the week of June 15 was postponed for September 4-6 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those events have now been canceled.
On Monday, June 15, the City of Oklahoma City will proclaim the third week in June as OKC Pride Week, according to the OKC Pride press release.
Working to adapt and create new platforms for the LGBTQ+ community, OKC Pride will host the June Virtual Pride Week celebration to help ensure the safety of residents. To incorporate proper physical distancing, OKC Pride Week will include a virtual vendor marketplace and online parade.
“It was very important to the team to maintain as much of the annual programming as possible while also exploring new opportunities only available through digital platforms,” said OKC Pride Alliance President, Hannah Royce.
“The lineup keeps growing and of course, we have some surprises up our glitter-covered sleeves.”
Royce added, “Although we cannot gather in person, please join OKC Pride online to celebrate this yearly event which brings us together to honor the history, courage, and diversity of OKC’s LGBTQ+ communities with a special livestream Opening Ceremonies and presentation of the Rainbow Awards.”
Kicking off Pride Week will be the annual OKC Opening Ceremonies. Other virtual events and features will include a Scissortail Park Livestream Pride in the Park Dance Party, an LGBTQ+ shopping guide, a special Locked & Loaded Drag Showcase, Latinx night with local activist and artist Lincka, and a Juneteenth dedication performance by singer songwriter Branjae.
“Virtual Pride is a celebration of our local queer and trans trailblazers,” said Royce. “We are featuring a lineup of DJs, performers, singers, and drag artists; shining a concentrated spotlight on women in music and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) artists.
“Oklahoma is overflowing with queer talent and we are very excited to have been working so closely with our community,” she added.
OKCPA has teamed up with The House Helps, a group dedicated to producing immersive live stream fundraising programming, to ensure that OKC Virtual Pride Week is a success and also a meaningful experience for OKC’s LGBTQ+ community.
In addition, during periods of social distancing and isolation due to the COVID-19 crisis, Freedom Oklahoma and the OKC Pride Alliance have joined in order to provide support and resources for the LGTBQ+ community through the community connection called “The Hub.” To learn more, click here.
In a press release, Royce and the OKC Pride Alliance board members ask for community members to spread pride throughout their neighborhoods in various ways, such as “fly a flag from their balcony, raise a flag in their window or hang one in their doorway.”
The Oklahoma City Pride Alliance is a community-run, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to producing the annual OKC Pride Week, OKC Pride Festival and Pride Parade, and year-round city-wide LGBTQIA+ Pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our city’s diverse community.
For more information about the 2020 OKC Virtual Pride Week, Festival & Parade, visit oklahomacitypride.org.