Join the OKC Pride Corps
Join the OKC Pride Corps
by Meredith Owens
Most of us growing up had many passions and aspirations in life. Many of us have convictions when seeing wrong doings and have a desire to do something to help those in need, especially when those things happen to people we love.
For much of my life, I dreamed about being one of those amazing, strong people who were fighting for what they believed in. The heaviness in my heart has been lifted in recent years as I have become more involved in my community through volunteerism with OKC Pride. This has allowed me to achieve my dreams of being an advocate for justice.
I first saw my opportunity to give back when I attended Pride in 2014. I attended with my best friend, Dustin Quintanilla, who had been to a few Prides himself. He showed me around the infamous 39th St. strip. What I saw was one of the most glorious displays of gay rights I had seen. My eyes were flooded with rainbows, glitter and the biggest display of love without bias. I never knew this existed. I fell in love with the celebration.
Dustin also introduced me to some Pride board members, one of whom was Kelley Blair, the volunteer coordinator. I signed up to volunteer for 2015 that day.
Pride has always been a safe place for the LGBTQ community to express their true selves without judgment. In more recent years, Pride has grown in acceptance with people from all walks of life and anyone looking for a place to be themselves. The experience of Pride varies with each individual, but one thing remains the same; you’ll have the time of your life, make new friendships each year and you’ll never feel more accepted and loved just for being you.
Because of the chaos and excitement that makes OKC Pride function every year, a large volunteer base and dedicated board members work hard year ‘round. With the growth Pride has seen in the last two years, we’ve found the need for a larger volunteer program; one that can keep you updated on what’s happening with Pride weekend and offer you ways to give back to your community, just like you’ve always wanted.
The ways you’ve always wanted to give back are now available through OKC Pride Corps. This is our newest volunteer and outreach group, started by OKC Pride board members Dustin and me. We both began our journey with OKC Pride as volunteers, working our hardest to help things happen behind the scenes of the city's largest nonprofit funded weekend event - OKC Pride weekend.
Changes in Pride’s structure have led to this exclusive volunteer group you can join and work with all year and get more involved in the community.
With an instant spark of excitement and a flooding of ideas, we felt this would be the way they've always wanted to give back. Once elected to head the committee, we began developing the program that would prove to have the most impact in presenting Pride’s purpose: “We exist to develop and sustain our community by diverse outreach, comprehensive care and dedicated support.”
With this mission statement in place, the goal of the Pride Corps is to begin to weave themselves into all aspects of every community, showing that our strength in caring for all people is an existential part of a cohesive community.
Although the origins of Pride Corps are LGBTQ related and will always show support to the LGBTQ community, the purpose of the group is to be a place completely free of judgement so you feel welcome in giving back to your city by volunteering with the many organizations with which Pride Corps plans on working.
Our first involvement was in the MLK Day this past January. There are plans to attend the Paseo Arts Festival in May. We are in the works on behalf of the beautification of 39th St. In addition to these different opportunities, there's always our primary function of serving our vendors and patrons every year during OKC Pride weekend.
Some people may choose not to commit to Pride Corps because it requires a pledged commitment to serving on behalf of the group. Don't fret, you can still lend a hand on that glorious weekend as a volunteer as you have in past years. Volunteers can sign up at okcpride.org.
Copyright 2017 The Gayly - 3/2/2017 @ 7:30 a.m.