No labels, just colors – SRQIST :: Article from SRQ magazine by Brittany Mattie


“Sarasota has never really exploited Gay Pride Month right now, ”said Jordan Letschert, Chairman of the Board of the PRIDE Project. “Everything is about to change. While not as receptive or extravagant as other Florida cities such as Miami, Orlando, St. Pete or Tampa, Sarasota is making great colorful strides in welcoming the LGBTQ + community to hoist their rainbow flags loud and clear. This is in large part thanks to the newly founded nonprofit that celebrates individuality and diversity, not just for a singular month, but all year round.

Letschert, along with co-founder Katie McCurry, their esteemed board of directors and more than 100 volunteers, paved the way for a new status quo – breaking the stigma that Sarasota progresses at a much slower pace in adoption. of LGBT culture. “We’re not trying to be South Beach or Key West, but for a family like me – me, my partner and our youngest son – we would love to share our beautiful beaches with others like us and celebrate our diversity all throughout the world. ‘year,’ says Letschert.

“Our ability to fundraise and break the bubble of places where LGBT people socialize and fundraise, while being supported and celebrated, is what sets us apart from other nonprofits. Since September 2020, the PRIDE project has taken important steps as the region continues to be a popular and safe travel destination and a new home town for many looking for a dose of sunshine and social equality. . But with the annual LGBT Pride Month coming in June – a month dedicated to festivities celebrating the assertiveness, spirit and visibility of the LGBTQ + community – many 941 residents plan to visit St. Pete. and Tampa for the celebrations, simply because Sarasota has yet to embrace the celebration for LGBT residents and visitors.

The PRIDE project is actively working with city officials and Visit Sarasota to make SRQ as friendly and fervent of social connection as our neighboring municipalities are. “We hope this will help alleviate the heightened hostile climate we have all experienced in general over the past year,” Letschert said. “We are here to unite and support people, not just in the LGBT community, but everyone.” SRQ

HIGHLIGHTS OF PRIDE MONTH

  • The PRIDE Project received funding from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and other donors to design and create 75 pole banners featuring the symbolic rainbow striped flag comprising each group, with a black band added to represent the Black Lives Matter movement. City-approved, the PRIDE project team will dot these weather-resistant, reusable banners throughout downtown and the Rosemary neighborhood for 45 days, from May 15 to June 31, as a festive way to break the bubble and promote LGBT pride month. in a big way. “

  • At the same time, the John Ringling Causeway will be illuminated throughout the night with rainbow lights from mid-May to the end of June. Bordering the bottom of the bridge and lighting up the bay at night, the rainbow night lights will signify the diversity of the LGBT community and guide the way.

  • Detroit-based artist Joey Salamon has been hired to create what will be the largest mural installation ever made in Sarasota. Salamon combines stunning patterns, a rainbow color palette and repeating three-dimensional geometric shapes in his work, which has reached the national level with album covers, larger-than-life street murals and design. restaurant interior. Next month, at the five-point intersection of Cocoanut Avenue and Downtown 2nd Street, each crosswalk will be painted in rainbow stripes in a mishmash of crisscrossing directions. The grand start of the mural will take place during Project Pride’s very first Pride Walk – with many city commissioners in attendance, vows renewing their vows standing on token street art and various other educational activities. and cultural entertainment.

  • With a play on the “Hippies Always Welcome” sign, Project PRIDE has created hundreds of personalized window stickers for free distribution to local businesses to dress up their storefronts as a visual greeting to all individuals, no matter who. they are or who they love. . “You Are Valued Here” is printed on every sticker, encouraging all sexual orientations, religions, countries of origin, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, languages, ages and political parties to feel welcome to dine, shop and hang out inside.

For a full range of events or to get involved, visit projectpride.org, @projectpridesrq.


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