In the midst of a pandemic, people are left wondering how they can celebrate Pride Month. People have been quarantining in their homes, and many in-person Pride events have been cancelled.
However, Dani Munoz, a youth outreach liaison at Bakersfield’s Center for Gender and Sexuality, said there are so many ways the community can commemorate the historic month.
“While the Center isn’t hosting any PRIDE specific events this year, we reach out and support our community and remind folks we can have pride every day,” said Munoz.
Pride months commemorates the Stonewall riots of June1969. It began in the early morning of June 28, 1969 when eight officers from the New York City’s Police Department’s Public Morals Division raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City.
But the bar patrons fought back. People from neighboring bars joined in, and hundreds of people resisted arrest, while fighting against police oppression. Rioters broke windows, set cars on fire and injured three police officers, according to Forbes. Once the word got out about the riots, thousands returned the next night to continue the protest, which lasted six days.
Munoz said people can celebrate by partiaking in virtual events, educating themselves and so much more.
“We encourage folks to decorate their homes or personal spaces for pride, engage with online LGBTQ+ groups and virtual pride events. As well as reading LGBTQ+ stories or watching LGBTQ+ media. These actions can help folks still feel pride even when we’re separated and indoors.”
iHeartRadio is hosting a virtual “Can’t Cancel Pride” event on June 25 on its Facebook and Instagram page. iHeartRadio, in partnership with P&G, will bring together some of the most inspirational voices in the LGBTQ community to benefit LGBTQ organizations and to recognized 50 years of Pride.
“Because Pride is bigger than an event or even a month; it lives in all of us, and it comes in any form in which we wish to show it,” said the event’s page. “Our events may be canceled, but nothing can cancel our Pride.”
Munoz also recommends watching LGBTQ+ media and reading LGBTQ books as an educational resource.
“Watching LGBTQ+ media on Youtube or Netflix, anything that would make you feel represented or supported by the community,” Munoz said.
Munoz said the Kern County Library has an online catalog that residents can use for online books.
Munoz encourages those who want to celebrate Pride month to do so safely during the pandemic.
“We definitely recommend that people are not travelling for PRIDE,” Munoz said. “Participating in a virtual PRIDE event is one way to celebrate even when at home and inside.”
However, there are some events taking place in Bakersfield. On June 30 at 6 p.m., there will a Pride Walk/Cruise at Beale Park on Oleander Ave. The first of its kind, the event calls for participants to dress up and decorate their cars for a walk/cruise through the Oleander-Sunset neighborhood.
The organizers have teamed up with artists from Creative Crossings to features artwork at the event, according to the event’s Facebook page.
There will be two routes: one for cars and one for walkers, “so you can participate however you choose.”
Drivers are asked to obey traffic rules and not block intersections or create traffic hazards, and walkers are asked to maintain proper social distancing, wear masks in groups, and stay on sidewalks.
Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to southkernsol.org.