When Brookings, South Dakota, scored 100% on the municipal equality index, the founders of Brookings PRIDE were inspired to create a place of visibility for the LGBTQ+ community.
“Our goal is to build, protect, and serve the Brookings-area LGBTQ+ community by advocating for diversity and inclusion, providing training, and producing educational programming for community members of all ages,” said Teagan Ford (Administrative, Large Sports Venues, SD Corporate).
Brookings PRIDE was founded in March of 2019 by Charmaine N. Houck. Ford is the Secretary/Treasurer of the new organization. Because they are so new, they are currently working on sharing ideas with each other and forming a general direction in which they plan on taking the organization.
The most ambitious goal of Brookings PRIDE was to host the very first PRIDE night within only a few months of their creation. The idea was to have the event in June, which is National PRIDE month. Ford said, “It has been pretty stressful, but it is all starting to really come together which is really exciting!”
Ford used the Daktronics Corporate Sponsorship for any fees they may encounter at the event such as the performers or any venue fees. The event ran on donations, in-kind sponsorships, and public sponsorships. Old Market Eatery+ Bakery donated appetizers and cupcakes, and they also created a signature drink for the event.
The event served as a fundraiser for the Brookings PFLAG chapter. PFLAG, the nation’s largest family and ally organization, is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy, which are similar goals to Brookings PRIDE.
PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. “I had not heard of PFLAG before we began Brookings PRIDE,” said Ford. “We have had lots of great meetings with them so far and look forward to working alongside them and giving our chapter more visibility.” Brookings PRIDE was able to donate $1,000 to PFLAG.
Brookings PRIDE was Friday, 14 June from 6-10:30 p.m. at Old Market Eatery + Bakery. The event offered fun, interactive activities for all ages including vendors located in the parking lot outside the venue, drag performances, and a panel discussion with local representatives. Mr. Michael Billy, the former CEO of Hudson Pride Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, was the headlining performer of the evening.
“We are estimating about 300 people were in attendance, including OM staff, volunteers, and the board. We hit max capacity before the doors officially opened and we had to cut off online ticket sales. It was a better turn out than we had imagined, and we are already collecting ideas for the next events.”
This article is by Sydney Wood
in Employee Communications.