by Patheresa Wells
A shining confirmation that Pride doesn’t end on June 30, the fifth annual Pacific Northwest Black Pride festival, which takes place Aug. 18–21, centers the Black LGBTQIA+ community during a four-day festival with panel discussions, parties, activism, and more. The festival will be held at various locations and culminate with a Pride in the Park event at Jimi Hendrix Park on Sunday, Aug. 21, 12 p.m.–6 p.m.
Me’Jour Mook, one of the event’s organizers and the Black Transgender Economic Empowerment program manager at POCCAN, which is partnering with the festival, told the Emerald, “Our mission is to advance our communities by embracing our diverse history, culture, and identities, through promoting community engagement and inclusiveness, all while striving for visibility and respect.”
This year’s event offers something for everyone. According to Mook, the festival will include events like the Shoot Your Shot Community Connection mixer, a chance for LBGTQIA+ folks to connect and mingle, as well as the Rainier Arts Culture Center Reception, a Black Vendor Expo, Black Drag Show, and Gala Ball. Offerings also include workshops such as Aging While LGBTQ+, Thinking Healthy Spiritually, Healthy Sexual & Living with HIV, and the Black Onyx Kink Workshop. In addition, the Black Trans Symposium, Mook said, “will focus on current anti-trans/anti-bodily autonomy legislation introduced in state assemblies across the country that threatens years of progress towards LGBTQIA+ justice and civil rights.”
When looking at the need for visibility, respect, and representation, “It is especially important highlighting and recognizing Black trans stories, lived experiences, barriers, and achievements,” Mook said. “At the same time, making sure we create more socioeconomic improvements for the Black trans community.”
PNW Black Pride also plans to highlight these stories through media like Eden’s Garden, a film by Seven King that shares the stories of trans Men of Color. The festival features a viewing of the film followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.
The family-friendly Pride in the Park will end the four-day celebration with performances by headliners Sevndeep and Neverending Nina, who will join local artists Jacob Gabriel, Javae Riley, Team Kutt’N’Up. In addition, numerous community partners will be tabling at the event, such as Northwest African American Museum, Lambert House, and Lavender Rights Project. Vendors will set up booths throughout the park, and resources for the community include body and mindfulness activities as well as sexual and general health screening and testing.
The need for PRIDE extends beyond June and beyond summer — especially within the Black LGBTQIA+ community. PNW Black Pride is a time to celebrate the lives and stories of the community — not only the festivals for days, but everyday.
For the full schedule of events, please visit the PNW Black Pride website.
Patheresa Wells is a Queer poet, writer, and storyteller who lives in SeaTac, Washington. Born to a Black mother and Persian father, her experiences as a multicultural child shaped her desire to advocate for and amplify her community. She currently attends Highline College in Des Moines. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.
📸 Featured Image: From left to right: Olivette Foster, Troy Givens, Michael Evans, Isaac Payne, Inaya Day and dancers, Autry Bell, Diamond St James, Dwayne King, and Steven Sawyer. (Photo: Ulysses Burley, courtesy of POCAAN.)
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