PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philly Pride Parade will not be taking place this month due to restrictions, but a celebration has been scheduled for September. Don’t count out June though, because Philly Pride Month is offering a full calendar.
“Being able to be vaccinated and hug each other is amazing,” said Ashley Coleman, executive director at the queer social justice organization, Galaei.READ MORE: Ericka Brair Killed In 'Crime Of Passion' Day Before She Was Due To Testify In Court
The nonprofit hosted a “Splat and Spray” event to kick off Philly Pride Month and to allow young people to add color to their new West Kensington location.
“Our mission for the youth lounge space is to emulate the Pride flag,” said Splat Program Lead Corem Coreano.
Teens used spray paint as a form of self-expression on the walls to create a welcoming home for inclusion.
Across the city, there are more than 280 Pride events that will take place this month.
“There’s no political agenda. We just wanted to celebrate sort of pandemic Pride, ” Kory Aversa said. “We did not want the pandemic to ruin gay pride in Philadelphia two years in a row and it meant too much for our community.”
Aversa is the organizer behind Philly Pride Month. He says it’s an effort that came together over just a few weeks, with gay business owners coming together to volunteer their time.
“The pandemic really had a sharp impact on the gay community in ways that I don’t think everyone realizes,” Aversa added.READ MORE: Ocean County Couple Among Those Missing In Building Collapse Near Miami
LGBTQ nonprofits, which suffered during the pandemic, will benefit from many of the events behind held.
“I think we really need to focus on those who have the greatest need,” said Chris Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center.
The Community Center’s immediate focus has been on providing accommodations for aging LGBTQ+ community members who have been struggling with housing insecurity. In-person access to the center is also set to resume.
“As of June 11, we are going to be reopening the building again during weekdays and by Sept. 1, we are going to be open seven days a week again,” he said.
Back at Galaei, teens pressed stencils against the walls.
“We want to see so much color. Too much color.” said Coleman.
It’s apparent that a rainbow is rising from the storm.
“If it wasn’t for me being in the program here at Galaei, I don’t know where I would have been,” said Coreano.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Board Of Education To Officially Rename Andrew Jackson Elementary School
For a full calendar of Philly Pride Month events, click here.