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Portland Black Pride

Portland Black Pride is poppin’! As an affiliate of other Pride organizations across the country and internationally, Portland’s Black Pride, PBP, celebrates the achievements of Black members in the LGBTQ community. I don’t know about other Black Prides but Portland is doing it and doing it well, okay?

Their events range from forums to lectures to education to parties, we’ll get back to that in a minute. PBP began in 2003 and has grown ever since. In the past few years Portland’s Black Pride has taken off with no intention of slowing down. Perhaps the most encouraging of all is young; particularly Black, Gay, questioning and/or curious youth have a place of acceptance, finally! Back to the parties. They crack! Period. They are turnt up, inviting and so much fun! PBP hosts events throughout the year but the month of June is when they really turn up! June is when they join in national Pride celebrations throughout the country. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for all of this year’s Black Pride events. Recently, we spoke with the man behind this new vision and movement of Portland’s Black Pride. His name is Khalil Edwards. Khalil has energy, ability and knows how to get things done! Ladies and Gents, Khalil Edwards.

Note: Feel Free to contact Portland Black Pride on Facebook: Portland Black Pride Email: portlandblackpride@gmail.com and Website: http://pflagpdx.org/wordpress/our-chapters/portland-black-chapter/ Portland Black Pride is a program of PFLAG Portland Black Chapter who had a major role in the Marriage campaign and made the front page of the Portland Observer: http://portlandobserver.com/news/2014/may/21/rejoice-same-sex-ban-lifted/ More info on Oregon Marriage Equality herehttp://www.oregonunitedformarriage.org/

Portland Black Pride, how are you? We are honored to have this time with you…
We are good. Very excited about where we are and plans we have on the horizon. We are the ones that are honored to have this opportunity. Thank you again!

Before we go in and for those who don’t know, please explain who Portland Black Pride is and the awesome work you do?
Black Pride celebrations, events, and organizations occur all across the country. I believe they date back to the 80’s and today can be found in most major cities across the U.S., some smaller cities, and even in other countries. Portland Black Pride, like other LGBT Black Prides, is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of African Americans in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

Portland Black Pride seeks to have a presence year round, but usually culminates in a week of events in June during Pride month. Events range from parties, to youth focused, to education and empowerment, community forums and discussions.

Speaking of the work you do, why is this work important and what impact does it have in terms of uniting folks?
Celebrations and events honor our heritage and our sexual orientation. Portland Black Pride is also about creating safe spaces in our community to socialize, network, and be and bring our full selves with LGBTQ folks and allies. It is important for all of us to be valued and celebrated. Portland Black Pride seeks to provide that for our community. It’s really about coming together and building community.

When did Portland Black Pride start? How have things changed looking back then to now?
The first Portland Black Pride I can recall was in 2003. In my opinion Portland Black Pride changes from year to year both from internal and external forces. For the past few years Portland Black Pride has seen resurgence. I hope we can continue this growth and continue to be a vibrant part of our community.

What is Portland Black Pride’s association with PFLAG? Are these two organizations affiliated?
Lol. This is a question we get often. This shortest and simplest answer is that Portland Black Pride is a program of PFLAG Portland Black Chapter. Portland Black Pride is often housed within an organization. This is partly for financial reasons and planning reasons, amidst others. In 2011 PFLAG Portland Black Chapter became the organization that housed Portland Black Pride and has been the chief sponsor every since. I hope that helps to clear things up a little.

Just to be clear, your events are open to everyone, is this right?
Of course. Just as Pride NW, Asian Pacific Islander Pride, Portland Latino Gay Pride, or Good in the Neighborhood is open to everyone. We invite everyone to events and encourage everyone to come out. Portland Black Pride means that the focus will be celebrating, honoring, and empowering the African American LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) community, if that resonates with you, please come out and support.

I really like the support young people can get from the types of events you host. Are you seeing this? Are young questioning and/or affirming folks turning out? What’s the feedback if you don’t mind sharing?
You know each year we are seeing more and more young folks show up at many of our events. In 2011 we had a few youth events, but only one was really well attended. We always try to ensure that many of our events are inclusive and of interest to youth, something that continues to be a challenge to us. This year we have several events that we hope be enticing to all, including youth.

We have had the most success engaging youth through the work of our PFLAG Portland Black Chapter Youth Outreach Program, led by our Youth Coordinator. Hopefully, we can look to some of that work to influence the work we are doing with Portland Black Pride.

What’s the future for Portland Black Pride? Is there something you really would like to see happen?
I think the future for Portland Black Pride is very bright. As I said, we have seen tremendous new energy and involvement over the past few years. I’m sure that will continue and grow moving forward. I would really like to see Portland Black Pride grow to the point where we can have the resources to do all the things we would like to do.

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