Last June, the Pulse massacre shocked the world and left the LGBTQ community devastated. Even now, many of us still struggle to make sense of the tragedy. The fact that it occurred during Pride month, a time many of us associate with love, safety and acceptance, only heightens the pain of the first anniversary of the attacks.
To commemorate the date, Basic Rights is participating in a nationwide effort to remember the victims and survivors – to honor them with actions that further equality and justice for all Americans.
We’d like to invite you to join us as we remember those brave people who lost their lives on June 12, 2016. If you’re in the Portland area, here are six actions you can take this pride month to help promote LGBTQ equality and justice throughout the state.
June 12: Honor Them With Action Memorial and Blood Drive
To honor the lives of the 49 Pulse victims, Q Center is raising awareness of gun violence and collecting blood to help save lives on the anniversary of the attack.
While blood drives are a contentious subject for many members of our community due to the FDA’s stance on donations from gay and bisexual men, Q Center has partnered with Bloodworks Northwest, a LGBTQ-friendly organization, for this drive. We know not everyone will be comfortable participating, but for those who are willing and able, more details can be found here.
In the evening, you can also join a presentation with the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety to help promote commonsense gun reform in our own state. There will be a moment of silence to remember the victims and a group action at the end of the evening. Get the details and RSVP for the event here.
June 17: Portland Thorns + Pride
Not all memorials have to be somber or serious, however. It’s also possible to honor the sacrifice of the Pulse victims while celebrating the progress the LGBTQ community has made in recent years. This June, there are so many ways you can take action to support equality.
If you’re a sports fan, that can include the time you spend at your next Thorns game. As part of 2017 Portland Pride, the Portland Thorns are partnering with Basic Rights Oregon. A portion of the proceeds from tickets sold through this link will benefit our work throughout the state. Reserved seats are $20 and General Admission Seats are $14. Use the promo code BRO when you order.
June 17-18: Volunteer With Us At Pride Northwest
If you’d like to help Basic Rights make a more direct impact, we’re always looking for volunteers to help make our work possible. This year we’ll be tabling at the Pride fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, and we want you to join us. You’ll be registering people to vote, handing out handbills, and letting people know what Basic Rights Oregon is all about. Register to volunteer here.
June 18: March With Us In The Portland Pride Parade
We’re also looking for community members to join us as we march in this year’s parade. What better way to make your support for LGBTQ equality clear than to stand with our staff and volunteers? We will provide accessible vehicles for those who want to participate but have mobility limitations. Sign up and get information here.
June 22: Dine Out With Bites For Rights
For the past 18 years, we’ve hosted Bites for Rights, our annual celebration of all the restaurants, bars, coffee shops, bakeries and eateries that help to make life sweet and delectable for LGBTQ Oregonians through their support of equality. To see our listing of over 100 BFR businesses throughout the state of Oregon, click here.
If you post a photo of yourself enjoying a drink or meal at a participating location on June 22 and tag Basic Rights on social media, you’ll even have a chance to win an ice cream party for 25 from Salt & Straw. Best of all, every purchase you make will directly fund programs that protect LGBTQ Oregonians, especially those populations that are most vulnerable.
June 22: Support Us At The While Rome Burns Benefit Concert
If live music is more your style, there’s another way you can show your support. Join us as at the Mississippi Pizza Pub from 8 to 11 pm for a benefit concert featuring The Sportin’ Lifers, The Plan B Band, and MC Karissa Lowe. All of the proceeds from the event will go directly to Basic Rights Oregon, and the venue is participating in this year’s Bites for Rights. Visit the While Rome Burns site for more details on this charity concert series.
Here’s How We’re Honoring Them With Action This June
As for the staff here at Basic Rights, we’ll continue to honor the Pulse victims by fighting for LGBTQ equality in every community within our state. For two decades, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Oregonians are protected from discrimination and hate.
Our current priorities those members of the community who are most vulnerable: LGBTQ people of color, the transgender community, queer youth, and those living outside of the Portland Metro area.
When you volunteer for Basic Rights or participate in one of our events, you’re supporting this vital work. Interested in learning more about our programs? You can start here.