The 2021 edition of the Pride London Festival has arrived, and for the second year in a row, the festival is taking place virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The digital festival, which runs until July 25, officially begins at 5 p.m. Thursday with a virtual launch broadcast on Facebook, Instagram and Mixcloud, featuring a lineup of local artists. The event will also be available on demand on Pride London’s streaming site, Pride London Network.
“We have incredible performances from the Kate Channer Band, after midnight Robbie Antone, as well as performances and guest appearances,” Stephen D’Amelio, president of the Pride London Festival, said in an interview.
D’Amelio was named president of the Pride London Festival in November, the first black person to hold the post. The organization also appointed a new vice president, Amanda Pearson, who became the first transgender person to take on the role.
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D’Amelio said he looked forward to two events in particular: Noir Experience, in partnership with the Black Gay Men’s Network of Ontario, and a town hall to discuss Pride’s past and its prospects for the future. Both events take place on July 24.
He adds that familiar events, such as Drag Queen Story Time, Sunday church service with Trinity United Church and Kabbalat Shabbat, in partnership with Jewish London and Rabbi Grushcow, will also be taking place online.
“He continues to do the important work, but at the same time continues to make sure that we adhere to the guidelines and restrictions that have been put in place.”
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A list of the 10-day virtual festival lineup has been posted on the Pride London Network’s streaming website.
Among the most notable differences this year will be the inclusion of the London Police Force in the virtual celebration.
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In 2018, uniformed officers were not allowed to participate in the Pride, with the aim, according to Pride officials, to make members of the Indigenous community and people of color feel more secure. comfortable during the parade.
“We heard loud and clear… that when they come to Pride and see such a large presence of uniformed police officers, it is a deterrent, and we find that people don’t come because of it,” he said. said Andrew Rosser, former chairman of the Pride London Festival. said 980 CFPL in 2018.
Pride London officials announced earlier this year that the police are back “as requested by both our members and some of our most engaged members of the community.”
D’Amelio said engaging with members and community members about the issue had given them “an eye-opening experience to have somewhat more raw and honest discussions with the police.”
“We want to continue having these conversations and they are open to having them. To be honest, we don’t know exactly what that looks like, but we’re open to these group chats, to one-on-one conversations, ”he said.
“We know there needs to be more representation at the table.”
This year’s Pride London Festival will conclude with a virtual parade and awards ceremony on July 25. More information about this year’s festival can be found on the Pride London festival website.
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