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Oakland Pride going virtual

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The Oakland Unified School District and its Gender and Sexuality Alliance were one of many contingents in the sixth annual Oakland Pride parade Sunday, September 8, 2019. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland
The Oakland Unified School District and its Gender and Sexuality Alliance were one of many contingents in the sixth annual Oakland Pride parade Sunday, September 8, 2019. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland   

Oakland Pride officials announced Tuesday, June 23, that the annual September parade and festival will be virtual this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"In this time of great risk and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot consciously put any member of our community at greater risk by carrying on with "business as usual," said a statement from Carlos Uribe, board co-chair.

Oakland Pride officials said they made the decision "with a heavy heart."

"All of us at Oakland Pride hope that you and yours are safe and healthy as you celebrate, rise-up, and resist during Pride Month," the statement read. "For the last 10 years, we have laughed, cried, rejoiced, marched, cheered, remembered, and came together for our own LGBTQ+ celebration here in Oakland. Five years ago, we started a march down historic Broadway, and last year expanded to five stages to include our Asian and Pacific Islander family. We will continue to build and grow Oakland Pride as our community grows, but this year plans have to be a little different."

The in-person Oakland Pride parade was to have been held September 13. This year, the online festivities will be for several days.

"Our organization exists to celebrate the accomplishments of generations of queer resisters and to make and hold space for all those whose sexual/gender identity and/or orientation does not fit neatly into the confines of an oppressive society," Uribe wrote. "With this guiding intention, we intend to put on a digital event that serves and celebrates members of every gender identity and sexual orientation."

A full virtual celebration is expected.

"Just because we are moving to a digital format doesn't mean we aren't going to bring you a full line-up of the performers, vendors, and content you've come to love from Pride," Uribe stated. "Oakland Pride will offer a full week of online content from Sunday, September 6 to Sunday, September 13 and our virtual vendor village will be online for two weeks before Oakland Pride and a week after."

"As we approach September, Oakland Pride will continue to monitor the situation and take action based on the recommendations from local, state, and federal health officials and keep our community updated," Uribe added.

People can keep abreast of developments by following Oakland Pride's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

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