Citing safety concerns, officials with Cleveland Pride announced Thursday, July 28, that the city’s 28th annual Pride parade and rally — which had been pushed back to Aug. 13 to accommodate the just-finished Republican National Convention held in that city — have been cancelled.
In a press release posted yesterday on organization’s website, Cleveland Pride Inc. President and CEO Todd J. Saporito said: “We have been entrusted by our community to create a secure parade and festival environment for our LGBTQ brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, friends and allies. Because of the changing social climate, Cleveland Pride did not have enough time to engage in the development of awareness programs and training that we believe is critical in today’s environment. Therefore, we regretfully cancelled our 28th annual parade, rally and festival this year.”
The press release went on to thank “all partners, sponsors, vendors, volunteers and service providers for their dedication and energy,” and noted that the Pride planning team’s next steps will be to “refund monies to vendors, sponsors and service providers. A team of board members and lead volunteers will initiate discussion for town hall meetings to further map out a program where we and other LGBT community partners, will be able to start crafting awareness and training programs, that will be beneficial on a day-to-day basis as well as prepared for our celebration in 2017.”
Saporito also noted, “Cleveland Pride, Inc. seeks to remind everyone that Pride is not a one-day celebration, but a daily act of visibility throughout our community. While we may not be marching as a large, unified body, we can come together throughout Cleveland and continue our support of local LGBTQ establishments and LGBTQ community members.”
But some community members aren’t buying it, including activist, radio host and Baldwin Wallace University associate professor Ken Schneck.
In a blog post on Huffington Post yesterday, Schneck called the cancellation “inconceivable,” given that Cleveland hosted the Republican National Convention, complete with “protesters with many, many guns,” just last week; that there is a city-wide celebration happening this weekend to thank Cleveland for hosting the RNC; that Cleveland hosted the Gay Games just two years ago; that the city took less than 48 hours to plan a parade to celebrate the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship (a parade that drew more than a million spectators); and that “cities all over the country have been celebrating Pride post-Orlando for months now.”