Could there be a better year to hold a Pride event? With so many frightening things happened around the world, including wars and a pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we do what we can to show acceptance, solidarity, inclusion, love… and Pride. Pride in our city. Pride in our people. Prideful displays of color and emotion.
This year – 2022 – is the year that we take Pride to another level entirely. And in order to do that, we need to get back on track with what is just, what is right… what is Buffalo.
Yes, the annual Buffalo Pride Week is officially back, set to be held May 31 – June 5. This year’s theme is, aptly, ‘Homecoming.’ During the pandemic we’ve seen plenty of people returning home. We’ve also seen refugee populations seeking new homes, which they have found in Buffalo.
After two years of scaled down Pride celebrations, this year promises to be all that and more.
“Each year, Pride Month and Pride Week are opportunities to find strength through love, inclusivity and unity, three things that have been especially needed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Justin Azzarella, chief strategy officer at Evergreen Health. “Pride has been held virtually and at home for the past two years, and so a safe return of public events is a highly-anticipated ‘Homecoming’ for the LGBTQ+ community. We are so excited that the Parade and Festival are back and we’ll joyfully reunite to uplift LGBTQ+ people and celebrate being in-person once again.”
The mission of Buffalo Pride Week is to uplift the LGBTQ+ community by raising awareness and providing access to diverse events that bring people together in the spirit of celebration, advocacy and community engagement.
“We are thankful that the state of the COVID-19 pandemic allows for safe, in-person gatherings. We are also respectful of each person’s comfort levels and want to celebrate in a way that makes everyone feel safe, so you may see a mix of virtual and in-person events this year,” continued Azzarella. “Community safety is our top priority and we’ll continue to monitor guidance set forth by our local and state governments.”
The weeklong celebration is hosted by Evergreen Health Foundation, an affiliate of Evergreen Health, and the celebration is presented by Evergreen Health and M&T Bank. Proceeds from the Pride Festival supports the mission and programming of the Pride Center of Western New York, an affiliate of Evergreen Health.
The annual weeklong celebration traditionally includes family-friendly events, fitness-related events, art events, club parties and much more, at various locations and venues throughout Western New York.
“We are thrilled to come back together this year to celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community,” said Glenn Jackson, chief diversity officer at M&T Bank. “M&T Bank is all about our people – our employees, our customers and the communities we serve. Buffalo Pride Week is an opportunity to celebrate people, show our pride and recognize there’s more work to do.”
Two signature events, the Pride Parade and Pride Festival, will return as in-person celebrations on Sunday, June 5.
- The Parade will take place along its normal route, beginning at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Forest Avenue and ending at Canalside.
- At the conclusion of the Parade, the Festival will take place at Canalside and feature community organizations, family activities, food and beverage vendors, retail vendors and live performances.
In addition to the Parade and Festival, Buffalo Pride Week encourages affirming organizations, businesses and individuals to submit safe and lawful events that abide by current city, county and state COVID-19 guidelines to BuffaloPrideWeek.com.
Beginning today, Buffalo Pride Week participants are welcome to:
- Register to participate in the Pride Parade
- Submit events for the community calendar by visiting buffaloprideweek.com/events
- Sign up to volunteer for the Pride Parade and the Pride Festival
2022 Buffalo Pride Week is also sponsored by Geico, Quest Diagnostics, Linde, Rich Products, National Grid, Tito’s Vodka, Thermo Fischer Scientific, as well as other local businesses.