ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted the Abilene PRIDE Alliance to scale back their first-ever gay pride event in the Key City.
Eventually slated to be an all day affair, PRIDE 2021 will now be a only a parade, focused around a message of immunization against COVID-19.
The “Denims and Diamonds” themed parade will take place on Saturday, September 25, beginning at Everman Park on North 1st Street at 2:00 p.m. and then continuing down Cypress Street for several blocks.
More family-friendly events, including a street dance, were originally scheduled to take place after the parade, followed by an evening drag show.
However, organizers felt that it would be “irresponsible” to hold a full-scale event during this surge in COVID-19.
“Instead of indoor events and vendors, we will refocus the scope of the parade to a message of immunization against Covid-19 and awareness of the vaccine,” Abilene PRIDE Alliance President Sam Hatton explains. “We are partnering with the local health district to provide immunization stations along the parade route and getting the word out about the effectiveness of the vaccine.”
Read the full statement from Hatton below:
Through a lot of deliberation, the Abilene PRIDE Alliance has decided that with the delta variant of Covid-19 on the rise in our community it would be irresponsible for us to hold a full-scale PRIDE Event on September 25th. Hospitalizations are increasing rapidly and a large portion of our offerings would be held indoors or in incredibly close proximity to other people.
That is why we will be scaling back PRIDE 2021 to incorporate only a PRIDE Parade. We will focus all of our efforts toward executing a robust, fun PRIDE Parade and reinvest in a full-scale PRIDE event next year.
Instead of indoor events and vendors, we will refocus the scope of the parade to a message of immunization against Covid-19 and awareness of the vaccine. We are partnering with the local health district to provide immunization stations along the parade route and getting the word out about the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Our LGBTQIAP+ community has a history of serving our community, even when they are less than receptive to us. Refocusing the parade on Covid-19 and working to increase immunization is another step in that long tradition of queer service to our community. Instead of focusing inward, we will be focusing out on our community.
Personally, I know that this news is probably disappointing to some of you. A large, dedicated team has been working for the better part of a year to make PRIDE 2021 an incredible event that showcases the West Texas queer community. But our pride can wait. Abilene needs us now.
The Abilene PRIDE Alliance hopes you will come to our PRIDE Parade and celebrate who you are with all the pride in your heart!
Get vaccinated, mask up, with PRIDE,
Sam Hatton President, APA