This year Pride was very different than the many of the preceding years I have attended.
Durham Pride 2017
by: Chrystal Kelly
Pride cancelled the parade!
(Lucky for us Durham still showed up and showed out hard–Ed.)
For unknown reasons the organizers of Pride were unable to come up with a solution or another date for the annual Pride Parade and a terrific tradition was lost. While it is understandable that Pride conflicted with Yom Kippur this year, this was not a surprise. There was a year to solve the issue. And this date conflict has happened in years past, respect for Yom Kippur was maintained and the Pride Parade was clearly important enough to reschedule to another date.
Not so this year, instead in 2017 the festivities were isolated and contained from the rest of Durham. Pride was limited to a small block of Rigsbee Avenue which while bustling, only had about ⅓ of the normal vendors.
There didn’t seem to be as much in the way of advertising either. Many people I spoke with were surprised and disappointed. Pride and the Parade are very important event to many of us, usually a big day full of fanfare and excitement. The Parade helps make Durham Pride celebration what it is a big beautiful spectacle that everyone is able to participate in. This year it seemed like a lot of people attended at first glance, but it is decepetive when everyone is squeezing into a half a block. False. Pride was clearly scaled down. Attendance was nothing like last year when the parade went from West Main St in front of Duke Campus, down Broad St, up 9th St, and then back to West Main St. Last year there was an estimated 7,000 people.
At a time with so much political unrest and divisive elements bombarding us every day, a Pride celebration with all of its inclusiveness and unity would be more important than ever. Durham Pride has always been a day that brought so many people together and a day brings awareness to the community on a large scale.
What happened this year?
Chrystal Kelly is a Durham based, concept driven, photographer. She specializes in creative portraiture and fine art photography. See more of her work at Shattering Light Photography.