By: Jersey Pride
When we founded Jersey Pride in 1992, our goal was to give the community a safe place where they could connect with each other, celebrate, share, educate, and inspire. And so we have, for each of the intervening years, with Asbury Park as our host city and Bank of America as our title sponsor for our annual celebration. Our event has grown so much that now the festival spills out of Bradley and Atlantic Parks and the parade extends from City Hall to the festival grounds, literally cutting the city in half.
Until this year.
In early April, Jersey Pride made the difficult decision to postpone our Pride Celebration until the fall, hoping that the pandemic would be under control and it would be safe (and legal) to congregate. On June 7th, we kicked off pride month with our first ever virtual pride, bringing the fabulousness of our community into living rooms around the state, reaching more than 12,000 viewers. But it was not the same, and soon we were discussing what a fall event could look like. We blocked out October 11 - National Coming Out Day - with the city of Asbury Park. The question, remained, though; what kind of event could we produce, and should we even do so? Would the pandemic limitations on outdoor gatherings be lifted, and how could we ensure the safety of our attendees?
We are very aware of the critical nature of this year’s elections and the importance of every person’s vote, so we explored whether we could re-envision our event with a Get Out the Vote focus. But in the final analysis, we kept returning to the same issue. Could we produce the event that the community wanted – craved now more than ever - and ensure that it was safe enough for organizers and attendees alike? We have concluded that we cannot.
We are instead focusing our planning on producing a spectacular pride – our 30th - on Sunday, June 6, 2021, in Asbury Park. Mark your calendars! We will see you then. In the meantime, mask up and stay safe.