Miami Beach Pride is very different this year.
For starters, it's usually in April. But COVID-19 changed that. And when some think of Pride — they think parties and parades. This year, it's parties, parades, and for the first time, panels.
Friday night, the City of Miami Beach raised the pride flag at City Hall. And Pride Lights the Night on Lincoln Road lit up the parking garage at 1111 Lincoln in rainbow colors.
They are traditions that make Miami Beach Pride more than three decades old and known for its celebration of love, equality, and diversity. But this year, festival organizers are going beyond ceremonies and celebrations — with conversations drilling down on concerns within the LGBTQ community.
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“It’s really relevant coming out of COVID that we can't just be a party event. We have to be more than that," said Carol Coones, a Miami Beach Pride organizer. "We have to go deeper into the community and reach out to our community and find out who we are."
This year, Pride will hold a Social Justice Health and Wellness Conference at Soho Beach House. It’s an evening of five discussion panels with different nonprofits on a range of issues, from teen suicide to trans equity.
“I think that not everybody is implicitly racial. But, I think the key is to acknowledge the subconscious bias that is engrained in us from the foundation of this country. I think once we can see it, we can better start to navigate these spaces," said Tori Famuyiwa, who is moderating the panel on racial inequality within the LGBTQ community.
Famuyiwa says progress starts with an honest conversation that implicit bias exists— even in a community that advocates equality for all. Particularly for trans women of color, many of whom live life in survival mode.
“Most trans people are kicked out of their home which means loss of security blanket for family. Support. Education. Shelter. Food," said Famuyiwa. "So once all these things are against you, it's very hard for you to stand up and fight for yourself because you're too busy trying to make another day."
The panel discussions on Wednesday will look for solutions to some of those challenges.
Pride is a 10-day event, with the Legends Ball on Thursday, followed by the festival next weekend.
For more information, visit miamibeachpride.com. Click here for tickets for the Social Justice Health and Wellness Conference and here for the Legends Ball. NBC 6 is a proud supporter and media sponsor of the event.