See you all tomorrow!

Greetings beautiful people,

As we have planned, we will be having an alternative Pride parade-watching picnic near the end of the main Pride parade route at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park (between SW Ash Street and Pine Street in the open field).

There will be livestream — tune into the Occupy City Hall Vigil TV.

And thanks to Mary at RumorZ, one of the few remaining Portland crew (most of the RumorZ is now in the forest at the Occupy Cascadia Rainbow convergence!), there will be some supply of free coffee.

This Occupride mini-park-upation has two purposes both of which complement each other: (1) to strengthen the LGBTQAIP+ voices within the Occupy movement in Portland and build a stronger queer bloc; and (2) to engage parade-goers into a meaningful dialogue and ultimately connect them closer to the Occupy movement.

To all who are marching in the main Pride parade, those who are participating in the autonomous actions (such as “Crash the Pride bike swarm” and “Rainbow Ecstatic Dance Walk”) — you are all welcome to join us at the end.  We will be around till about 2 p.m. (or even longer if it gets more interesting!).

And remember: Saturday, June 23, the Occupy the Pride Portland Community Assembly.

Whose Pride? Our Pride!

 

Dance party info

According to the organizers of the event: “Once again: THIS IS NOT AN OCCUPY EVENT. People affiliated with Occupy are welcome to attend as long as you don’t try to limit how anyone else resists the people and institutions that oppress us.”

Pride weekend weather

“On Father’s day we’ll see showers for the first part of the morning and then slowly decreasing showers. Temps will really cool down compared to Saturday.  I know there are some big parades and activities outside on Sunday, so plan for mid-60s to lower-70s with gust to breezy weather and showers for the first part of the day.” — KGW.

This Sunday: Occupy The Pride and Other Happenings!

Salmon Street Springs in summer

Salmon Street Springs in summer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In contrast to some of the more radical queer actions that are planned by other groups, Occupy The Pride Portland has sought to capture the more mainstream audience that comprises much of the 99 Percent, in the spirit of the Occupy tradition.  Based on the level of concerns and even outright oppositions from within the Occupy Portland community, as well as because of the duplication of efforts, we have decided to make this Sunday’s Occupride a markedly low-key event that leads to a bigger event later on.  Possibilities are also open to evolve Occupy The Pride Portland into a standing LGBTQIAP affinity group within the larger Occupy Portland and allied movements.

To clarify any confusions, a full listing of Occupy The Pride Portland events:

Saturday, June 16, 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: Pride sign-making picnic at the Couch Park (find us near the Couch Park sign at the southeastern corner of the park), NW Glisan Street at NW 19th Avenue.  Make signs for Dyke March and/or Occupride.  Some cardboards and markers provided; bring anything else you may need.

Sunday, June 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.: Occupy The Pride Portland – Parade-Watching Picnic and Community Outreach Action at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park between Ash and Pine Streets (on the open parkland between the Pride NW festival and Saturday Market).  This is mostly for visibility and presence.  We engage in conversation only when people approach us.  Bring your favorite Occupy signs or banners, musical instruments, games, picnic stuff to share, etc.

 

Saturday, June 23, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.: Occupy The Pride Portland – Summer Solstice Community Assembly at Ladd Circle, SE Ladd Avenue at Harrison Street (in the middle of the Ladd’s Addition between Hawthorne and Division).  Network, connect and organize for future actions in a less confrontational setting as we also celebrate the arrival of summer!  We also thought this would be a great idea as many people could not make it to the Sunday, June 17 Occupride due to other involvements.  Moving the main Occupride action to another day would ensure a bigger turnout.

Saturday, July 7, Occupy The Pride Vancouver, Washington (maybe) at Esther Short Park, this would be a low-key visibility and dialogue action like the one on June 17 in Portland.

 

For your information — Non-Occupride events and actions that we are aware of thus far (listing herein does not imply endorsement, support, or for that matter, objection):

Saturday, June 16, 5:45 p.m.: Occupy Portland’s Sisters In Strength (SIS) members will be joining the Dyke March Portland.  Meet the group at the Naito Legacy Fountain at the south end of the Saturday Market.

Saturday, June 16, 11:30 p.m.: “Queers F*ing Queers”, an all-ages, anti-capitalist, anti-assimilationist dance party in the streets. It kicks off from SE 8th and Main. This sounds really awesome, but please be aware that it doesn’t have a permit, and will likely feature a ‘diversity of dance styles’, so there’s a high likelihood of police interference. Stay safe out there, guys! Again, here’s the Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/371415339574877/.

Sunday, June 17, 11:15 a.m.: ‘Crash Pride Bike Ride and March’. Meet up on the South side of SW Park and Burnside at 11:15am on Sunday to protest queer assimilation, nationalism, and militarism. Here’s the event page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/events/323123051100582/.

Sunday, June 17, 1-2 p.m.: Ecstatic Rainbow Dance Walk – from Tiffany Center on SW Morrison at 14th Avenue, to North Park Blocks.  A “smart” flash mob in seven colors of the rainbow.  Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/363435847037556/

And finally, for all official Pride Northwest events, refer to http://www.pridenw.or

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Ways to improve Pride NW

As the Pride special insert in the Willamette Week notes, Pride NW is a small organization, with one employee and no office space.  It has gone through many financial and organizational trials over many years.  Yet, despite its true nature as a community organization, whatever the events they put together somehow come across as heavily commercialized.

Of course, the question is whether the “business as usual” is even needed any more, in Portland of all places.  The conventional gay pride parade has been in its present form for decades, and at least since the 1990s, not much have changed.  In the new realities, it may have already outlived its usefulness or relevance.

In the empty shell of a pride, in the vacuum vacated by passionate community activism (like in the days of fighting OCA) and by the life-or-death struggles (like during the AIDS crisis) now occupies commercial advertisements and marketing gestures disguising as pride.

Yet, as Pride NW admits, the costs for putting this event is skyrocketing.

There must be a better way.

Here are some of the points for improvement to make Pride NW a truly community-oriented organization and event:

  • Tiered float/contingent and booth fees.  Those who can shell out more money, and those who come with a gigantic advertising float, should be required to contribute more to Pride NW.  On the other hand, community organizations and activist groups should receive preferential rates, and so should be underrepresented groups (e.g., queer people of color, poly groups, etc.).
  • Make the festival a non-alcoholic event.  The issue of addiction and recovery is a serious matter within the queer communities.  Using Pride as a way to push addictive substances such as alcohol must end — and this is only way to make the festival more inclusive, welcoming, acceptable, and safer.  If anyone wants to drink, there are plenty of other options on Stark Street.  Several years ago Pride NW did the right thing by making it all non-smoking.
  • Highlight local talents.  The entertainment stages need not book out-of-town celebrities.  If anyone wants to go to a concert they can do so at the Rose Quarter or at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.  Use the festival to help emerging local talents  succeed.  Possible other opportunities could include (juried or open-call) outdoor fine arts exhibition.  Maybe this approach could also allow Pride NW to receive a grant from the Regional Arts and Cultural Council to supplement expenses.
  • Get rid of the fences.  No alcohol, no fences.
  • Something aside from the entertainment stages and vendor booths — something that are more participatory and interactive to help build a community.
  • A well-defined limit on advertising on floats.