Homer Pride to hold Liberation events through June

The nonprofit honors Pride month and Juneteenth in joint celebration

Local nonprofit Homer Pride launched their schedule of Pride Month celebrations on Saturday, June 1 with a kickoff gathering at the recently opened Fireweed Mountain ZenDen Cafe on Pioneer Avenue. The casual event was followed by lawn games and music hosted at Grace Ridge Brewery later Saturday evening.

An expanded schedule of events will follow throughout the month of June as Homer Pride conducts their annual joint celebration of Juneteenth and Pride Month, which their website describes as an acknowledgement of “the intersectionality between LGBTQ+ experiences and the commemoration of Juneteenth, alongside other marginalized communities.”

“Recognizing the historical context of both struggles for liberation and equality, we understand that unity in diversity is essential for fostering solidarity and achieving social change,” the website states.

2024 marks the third year that the nonprofit has hosted this joint Liberation Celebration.

“A big piece of the expansion for us is starting to have more energy as volunteers,” Jerrina Reed, Homer Pride coordinator and board president, said.

Fellow coordinator and board treasurer Lindsey Wood also credited Homer Pride’s ability to expand and do more activities this year to a charitable grant awarded to the organization by the Homer Foundation.

Reed noted that Homer Pride has also partnered for the last three years with the Homer Organization for More Equitable Relations, a platform for education, wellness and advocacy headed by Winter Marshall-Allen. Homer Pride also began hosting a Juneteenth-specific committee this year so that Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) in the community could have a way to participate in the planning of Liberation Celebration events, Reed said.

“That prompted some conversations with other organizations in Anchorage that (asked), ‘How do we get people in Anchorage to understand why you’re doing (Pride Month and Juneteenth) combined in Homer?’” Reed said. “So we invited them down … and that’s what prompted what we’re calling the BIPOC and queer narrative story sharing.”

On Saturday, June 8, join for a guided and “empowering LGBT+ ally-friendly” hike from Diamond Creek to Bishop’s Beach. Hikers will meet at Bishop’s Beach at 8 a.m., then carpool to the Diamond Creek trailhead at 8:15 a.m. The 8-mile hike back to Bishop’s Beach will make for a “ memorable day of exploration and adventure” and include opportunities for tide pooling along the way. “Friendly” dogs are welcome to tag along. Participants should bring water, snacks and lunch.

On Thursday, June 13 from 4-6 p.m., Homer Pride will host a Community Connection Circle at Kachemak Bay Campus. This event is “dedicated to creating connection-based conversations and empowerment within intersectionality,” according to the organization’s website. Focusing on sharing experiences by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals within the greater Homer community, this conversation intends to “shine a spotlight on the narratives that often go unheard, yet are vital in our collective journey toward liberation.” Come for story sharing, interactive discussions, community connection and more.

“It’s going to expand into something that’s not just part of Homer Pride, but I thought this was the perfect place to start it, where we are creating an exceptionally safe space to have conversations and to hold space for each other so that we can all unite in that space,” Reed said. “The Community Connection Circle is supposed to be a talking circle that goes in different locations for different groups of people to try and bridge some of the disconnect that’s going on in the community.”

On Friday, June 14, Homer Brewing Company will host a game night from 6-8 p.m. The Alibi will also host a Queer-e-okee event, hosted by Robin Sparkles, at 9 p.m.

The big celebration event will take place on Saturday, June 15, starting with the Liberation Walk at 11:30 a.m. The walk will commence at the HERC, following Pioneer Avenue and ending at Kachemak Bay Campus.

The Liberation Celebration will be held in the KBC parking lot from noon to 5 p.m. Come by to enjoy performances by musicians, poets, speakers and cultural artists. Vendors including nonprofits, food vendors and local artists will also be present.

Alana Greear, independent candidate for the Alaska State House District 6 race, will also speak at the Liberation Celebration, according to Reed.

Reed said that the change in venue from WKFL park, where the celebration was held last year, to KBC was to provide more room for vendors and greater accessibility to the community.

“It was really important to the board that we stay in a very visible space,” she said. “It’ll be way more accessible, not just the parking but also the restrooms.”

Saturday’s Liberation Celebration will close out with a dance party at the Alibi, headed by DJ Totally Tiff, starting at 9 p.m.

On Sunday, June 16, start the day with Rainbow Chakra Flow Yoga at Bishop’s Beach, beginning at 11 a.m. Afterward, take part in a Bishop’s beach cleanup from noon to 2 p.m. Trash bags and gloves will be provided.

In addition to the scheduled June events, Homer Pride plans to hold community gatherings and events throughout the year, such as monthly game nights and hosting teen spaces. Keep an eye on what they have in store on their Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/pride99603/.

For further details about scheduled Pride/Juneteenth events, visit www.homerakpride.com.