Harlem Pride is Celebrating Its 15th Year With A Month-Long Celebration

The celebration ends with a bang with the largest event: The Celebration Day Festival.

Hey, Harlem queers and allies! Harlem Pride 2024 will host a month-long celebration to commemorate their 15th anniversary. The organization was founded by Lawerence Rodriguez and Carmen Neely in 2009. It began as a party to promote the annual Pride exhibit at Rodriguez’s art gallery, Casa Frela Art Gallery. After the organizers realized there was no formal organized pride celebration in Harlem, the two expanded the idea and held the first-ever Harlem Pride Day Celebration in 2010 on West 119th Street, attracting over 2,000 attendees.

This year, over 30,000 people are expected to attend events throughout the month. Harlem Pride is highlighting SGL/LGBTQ+ community members that have contributed to Harlem’s history over the past decade with this year’s theme, 15 Years Proud. The term SGL, or Same Gender Loving, was adopted by the organization to be culturally inclusive of African American gay/bisexual identity.

“The annual festival is designed for open-ended appeal to our diverse community,” Carmen Neely said in a press release. “There is something truly energizing, exciting and empowering about presenting Harlem Pride. It solidifies the notion of SGL/LGBTQ people as contributing members of our larger Harlem community. It also demonstrates the strength, vitality, and unity of our community within the collective fabric of New York City.”

Harlem Pride’s 2024 lineup of events kicked off on June 2 with the Legacy of Pride Awards. The awards honored queer activists, advocates, and community builders who were instrumental in helping Harlem Pride reach 15 years. 

This year’s honorees were: Charles Shorter, the Chief of Community Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at Ryan Health; Fay Barrett, the Senior Director of Support Services at Ryan Health; Earl D. Fowlkes, the President/CEO of the Center for Black Equity Inc; Monica Hidalgo, the Corporate Director of Community Affairs at NewYork-Presbyterian; Lady Irene Gandy, a member of the Drama League Board of Directors; and Keith L.T. Wright, the Director of Strategic Planning at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP. 

Harlem Pride is also making space for the younger LGBTQ+ community. Queer youth and allies ages 13-19 are invited to a Youth Game and Karaoke Night on June 7 at the Dwyer Cultural Center to make friends, play some board games, and belt out their favorite karaoke songs between 6 pm and 9 pm. On June 14, organizers will honor transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community members with an Appreciation Reception at Lamda Lounge. At the Appreciation Reception, queer people, allies, and LGBTQ+ organizations who contribute to the community will be celebrated from 7 pm to 10 pm. The reception will be hosted by the Bronx’s own B. Hawk Snipes, a trans activist and community leader who was featured in Pose. Harlem Pride will also help connect health experts with the queer community during the Health and Wellness Chat & Chew on June 20 at the Dwyer Cultural Center. 

“Health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” Harlem Pride shares on their website. “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. Our aim with our & Wellness Chat & Chew is to provide access to information vital to our community’s well-being, presented by experts in their fields.”

The celebration ends with a bang with the largest event: The Celebration Day Festival. From 12 pm to 6 pm on June 29, food vendors and merchant booths will line the streets of 12th Avenue between West 133rd Street and West 138th Street. You can expect surprise live performances, DJ sets, and celebrity hosts will keep everyone up and dancing. This FREE event will also offer face painting and a Drag Queen Story Hour. While the festival will be a day of fun, it will also provide practical resources for the queer community, including health, legal, and financial services, as well as medical testing and health screening. This year, the festival is partnering with Eventeny to bring a virtual marketplace available on the site or the Eventeny app. 

Are you looking to do some good this Pride season? You’re in luck because Harlem Pride is also looking for volunteers! You can register here to help out with the festival.   

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