Since 1989, South Carolina Pride has been helping folks feel like part of something larger than themselves. Formed to support the needs of LGBT individuals living in the state, events hosted by SC Pride are gaining popularity for good reasons.
“Our purpose is to truly bring equality and awareness to South Carolina,” commented Jeff March, president of SC Pride, who added that the organization recently celebrated its 28th annual pride festival.
So how have the Pride festival and its surrounding events changed over the years that SC Pride has worked in the area? According to March, things are bigger and better than ever. For one thing, the festival recently expanded to a two day event, which was necessary after popular rapper Lil’ Kim brought crowds out in droves for the first-ever night parade in 2017. The night parade was strategically planned by the organization to help people feel safe and hopeful after a multiple shootings happened earlier this year in the Vista.
“I wanted to show that we could all come together and have a magical evening of peace and acceptance, and that it was safe to come out and celebrate again in our hometown,” March said.
In addition to Lil’ Kim’s presence, Carson Kressley served as guest host and comedian for this year’s President’s Ball, a supreme hit in 2017 for both the LGBT community and beyond.
“Our festival is welcoming to everyone, and every year the number of our straight attendees grows, therefore growing our population of allies,” March pointed out. “We also provide a safe environment for everyone, especially those in rural areas of SC that come to experience life without the prejudices they may experience at home. For many, this is their first experience of understanding and acceptance. Each year our festival grows larger in attendance.”
March suggested that supporting SC Pride is a good move for anyone who loves South Carolina, as acceptance, tolerance and love for others becomes more important in culture. Rather than dwelling on differences, SC Pride highlights the special human connection between everyone in attendance.
“SC Pride is important to me because I see the difference it has made here in South Carolina,” he mused. “Minds are changing and growing and we are trying to share our true selves with folks that are now a little more accepting of us than they used to be. This festival is a city entity now, and benefits Columbia by bringing folks into the area from other states to our growing city.”
Those who are interested in giving back to the cause can do so in two different ways. You can donate funds, which help pay for events to enlighten the community, or you can donate time. Volunteers are needed throughout each year at different times. Visit the organization website, at SCpride.org, and sign up to volunteer, or donate with a simple click.
“Funds raised will help us continue to grow for the needs of our communities, continue to bring this festival to new heights and welcome more folks to our Pride,” said March. “And, we can continue to support other organizations that work hard for our LGBT population.”