Heritage of Pride
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Heritage of Pride (HOP), doing business as NYC Pride, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that produces the official New York City LGBTQIA+ Pride Week events each June. HOP began working on the events in 1984, taking on the work previously done by the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee, organizers of the first March in 1970. HOP also took over responsibility for the operations of NYC's Pride festival and Pride Rally. It was that first march which brought national attention to 1969's Stonewall Riots. The late sixties saw numerous protests and riots across the United States on many social injustices and from general political unrest including the war in Vietnam. Few Marches have left a legacy like this organization continues; it is a global human rights issue not yet resolved.
After June 1970's events in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Pride chapters formed in cities across the US. Pride London was the first non-US city to rise in support of Gay Rights in 1972 and Pride festivals (or Christopher Street Days) now occur on six continents. The official LGBTQIA+ Pride events for New York City end on the last Sunday of each June. Additional New York City events in the outer boroughs are organized by Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island Pride chapters. Antarctica has yet to officially organize a Pride chapter, but in 2016, it was declared the world's first LGBT friendly continent.
HOP is a volunteer spearheaded organization working by Robert's Rules 50 weeks a year to execute the activities of NYC Pride Week. The voting membership elects two volunteer Co-Chairs onto an Executive Board composed of Committee Directors (also volunteers) and their Executive Director (the most senior of staff). Until 2002 all NYC Pride Week activities were organized solely by volunteers. That January Anthony D. Dean began work as the first full-time paid Business Development Director of NYC Pride events. By late 2016 HOP had five employees working year-round from a rented basement office on Christopher Street. They assist in coordinating the desires of Membership- who work on behalf of the larger community. Membership is open to all individuals.
What began as a March has grown to more than a dozen events which compose NYC PRIDE week including The March, The Rally, PrideFest, and Pride Island- a multi-day cultural experience that is an evolution from HOP's Dance on the Pier (1987-2017). Pride Island is the final event held each year. Beginning with June 24, 1990 the closing event has culminated with the second largest annual fireworks display in Manhattan, bested only by Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. HOP's Stonewall50 Planning Committee began work in July, 2009. Additional programming was envisioned for the coming years and by 2011 new events had become a reality. This would eventually lead to a successful bid for the first US hosted WorldPride, Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019.
The concept for WorldPride events were established in 1997 when HOP hosted the 16th annual conference of InterPride. The first of these was WorldPride Rome 2000, followed by Tel Aviv, London, Toronto and Madrid. It's not odd to think that Pride chapters grew around the world as quickly as they did. LGBTI Human Rights violations are not tied to any one country and from that injustice stems many passionate acts, some brave and others not. Passion is appropriate for a Pride organization carrying the torch for the Stonewall rioters, they too were brave as were the 5,000 Marchers in the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day March. Just within the US Intimate Matters documents government intrusion into SGM lives and how they asked citizens to turn in suspected individuals, as far back as colonial times. Gay New York furthers the documentation with a detailed look at the homosexual and heterosexual social structures and political landscape between 1890 and 1940. By 1969, sting operations and raids of gay bars had become routine.
During Pride Month an organization such as HOP brings together many facets of the community asking they join voices and speak as one. In 2017 a new voice was added. ABC7 broadcast three (3) hours of HOP's Pride March (actual event run time = 9 hours, 38 minutes) as did their sister network covering the Chicago Pride Parade. Both networks continue to make that content available on the Internet wherever there is access to such information, for the next year. The NY broadcast was nominated for an New York Emmy Award in both 2018 and 2019.
2017's NYC LGBT Pride March brought together more than 450 contingents including 110 floats. That route traversed Fifth Avenue below the NYPL and after turning on 8th Street included more of Greenwich Village. The 1970 March was up Sixth Avenue and ended with a Gay-In in Sheeps Meadow, Central Park. The route itself has changed direction and span many times. The March route in New York does pass in front of the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, location of the Stonewall riots which launched the modern gay rights movement. That such a demonstration occurs without resolution annually is being addressed in courthouses, where needed, represented by organizations like Lambda Legal and in the UN by Member states and the UNHRC. The UN's LGBT Core Group comprising 22 countries meets regularly to specifically address the facets of International Law which need to be corrected so as to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The 2015 Free & Equal campaign included figures such as the World Bank's 2014 finding of 5% of GDP. being the economic cost of exclusion.
Heritage of Pride is a founding member of InterPride and a member of Northeast Regional Pride (NERP), the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the International LGBTQ+Travel Association (IGLTA).
The theme chosen for 2018 was "Defiantly Different". The opening event held on June 14, 2018 was HOP's inaugural Human Rights Conference, held at SUNY Global Center and included 20 different workshops and panel discussions. Programming was a collaborative effort of HOP, SUNY, United Nations, GMHC, SAGE, OutRight Action International and The NYC LGBT Center with participation from a range of others including Columbia Law School, Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, OutServe-SLDN, The Dru Project, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. 2019's theme in New York and many other cities is Millions of Moments.
HOP's works toward a future without discrimination where all people have equal rights under the law. They do this by producing LGBTQIA+ Pride events that inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate their diverse community.
Heritage of Pride annually grants the Marsha P. Johnson "Don't Be Outraged, Be Outrageous" Award. Winner in 1995 was the float sponsored by the AIDS Prevention Action League. Winner in 2017 was Desmond is Amazing.
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- Sowa, Emily (24 June 2018). "Pride Week: 10-Year-Old Drag Kid talks bullying and being yourself always". KGO-TV. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
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- Official NYC Pride website
- Guidetogay.com - Official NYC Pride international media partner