Iowa City Pride has made the painful decision to cancel its 50th anniversary Pride celebration, originally scheduled for June 19 and 20.
“We know this comes with many disappointments, cancelled plans and one less thing to look forward to,” said Anthony Sivanthaphanith, Iowa City Pride president, in a press release. “It breaks my heart and the board’s heart as well.”
However, Sivanthaphanith said, “ultimately, the safety of all our communities is the most important…. The board looks forward to planning more events soon and some creative ways, virtually, to celebrate.”
The decision was announced hours after organizers of NYC Pride in New York City shared that their event, scheduled for June 14-28, will also be cancelled. The two cancellations are among a growing list of Pride events, typically held in the month of June, that are holding off this summer because of the coronavirus crisis.
“This weighed on our members, board, and staff, knowing that we serve as a haven for vulnerable communities,” said David A. Correia, interim executive director of NYC Pride. “It was not easy to arrive at the decision to cancel pride as we have come to know it over the years, especially given the financial impact this could have on LGBTQIA+ people and businesses, but our top priority remains the health and well-being of all those that participate with us. ”
Iowa City had planned to expand its annual Pride celebration to two days this year, in honor of its 50th anniversary. The full anniversary party will now take place in 2021. IC Pride still plans to participate in this fall’s University of Iowa Homecoming Parade, which is the technical “birth” of annual LGBTQ Pride recognitions in the city. Today’s IC Pride organization was formed out of a group of students who marched in the parade 50 years ago, riding in a vehicle bearing the banner “Gay Pride is Gay Power.“
Sivanthaphanith said one of the alternative ways Iowa City Pride can still take place this year will be “Global Pride” coming June 27, an online gathering of Pride organizations around the world.