In a year when our rights and freedoms are being called into question again thanks to a conservative Supreme Court, it is vital that we as a community celebrate Pride.
With themes of inclusion and a focus on diversity, Pride celebrations this year are more intersectional than ever before. Baltimore Pride is a shining example of this glorious trend and with their theme of #TogetherAgain they aim to make Pride 2022 the most epic celebration to date!
Featuring an amazing line-up of events and performers, Baltimore Pride will have something for everyone. The festivities will kick off on June 20 at the Pride Center of Maryland with a ribbon cutting ceremony and will culminate in the Pride Parade and Block Party on June 25 and Pride in Park on June 26. Throughout the week there will be a Pride job fair, game night, Family Pride, Elder Pride, Youth Pride, a Slam poetry competition, film festivals, panel discussions and so much more. See the complete event guide here.
In order to get some insight into Baltimore Pride’s history and its creation this year, we sat down with Professor Unique Mical Robinson, Faculty in Humanistic Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Chairperson of the Baltimore Pride Committee.
Q40: What makes Baltimore Pride unique to other celebrations? Can you give us some history on it?
Unique Robinson: Baltimore holds the title as the third oldest Pride in the United States (following behind New York and San Francisco). This year marks the 47th Pride Celebration for the city. With that said, we tried to shape the committee to be reflective of Baltimore’s eclectic, artistic population, as well as the diversity of the city.
Baltimore’s Pride began from grassroots efforts and continues in that same vein today. The first Pride was a fundraiser for Baltimore to have a Pride Center, a safe space to serve the needs of Baltimore’s SGL (same-gender-loving)/LGBTQ+ population. We are intentional about the sponsors we select, as we want Pride to continue to feel like a community effort. While we do have corporate sponsors, they are national, regional, and at the local level, as we want to ensure local businesses are well supported during the festival as well.
Being that Baltimore is predominantly Black (62%), we wanted to make sure Pride prioritized the interests of our SGL/LGBTQ+ Black community as well, from the headliners and entertainers we chose, to the vendors, many of whom are local small businesses. We also selected performers who have made a significant impact on Baltimore’s art & music scene (and beyond), such as DDm and Davon Fleming.
Baltimore’s SGL/LGBTQ+ community has often been fragmented due to the legacy of segregation and racism, and we could not ignore this. Having this in mind, we chose to make this year’s Pride as inclusive as possible for all of Baltimore’s residents, across the gender and sexuality spectrum, hence the theme #TogetherAgain. We did not want anyone, regardless of race, class, or gender to feel excluded, and to feel seen. Also, we intentionally extended this invitation to our regional community members in DC, MD and PA counties, as well as Virginia.
Q40: We at Q40 love to hear and see this! Just looking at the event guide has us so inspired and excited. You guys truly ensured that every member of the community has an event to be featured in and be celebrated! It must have taken a lot of work to put it all together which I assume as Chair of the Pride Committee you had a big part in.
**** Editor’s Note: We want to take this opportunity to point out that Baltimore Trans Pride took place earlier this month on June 4, for anyone who might be wondering about the lack of trans-specific programming in the event guide. While obviously embraced and welcomed into the Baltimore Pride events, the trans community and its supporters are big enough in Baltimore to sustain their own Grand March and Block Party!! How fantastic is that?!
So, Unique tell us, just what is involved in being the Chair of Baltimore Pride?
Unique Robinson: Oh, so much! It’s a lot of coordinating moving parts. The committee was established in January 2022, and we have been meeting biweekly since then (moving to weekly in May). At first, it was about identifying key community members to volunteer their time for the committee, sending collective email reminders for the meetings, and facilitating them.
Then, it was splitting the grand committee into subcommittees for Pride, based on the interests/skills of the committee members (Marketing, Sponsorships, Entertainment, Events, Parade, Vendors). I also joined the Marketing Committee, as there would be a number of media opportunities coming up, and as Chair, I was responsible for promoting Pride to the various regional channels.
From there, the bulk of the work resided in Pride Center of Maryland Staff’s efforts, combined with volunteers for the Pride Committee. All in all, we have made tremendous progress in these past six months to bring Baltimore the best Pride yet!!
Q40: It definitely shows! You guys have put together an amazingly diverse program. Which pride event are you most excited about and why?
Unique Robinson: I am honestly most excited about Saturday, June 25th – that’s the day of the Pride Parade, and Block Party! I am thrilled to walk in the Parade, and to host the Block Party Saturday afternoon. There, we will have our entertainment onstage, including DDm, Davon Fleming, Trina, and Keke Wyatt. I am elated to keep the crowd hype for the performers, and to celebrate our collective lives!
Q40: I have no doubt it’s going to be an event to remember! Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Good luck with everything and thank you for all the work you do on behalf of the community. Happy Pride!!