“Our communities know better than most that we will get through this.”
UK Black Pride 2020 has been postponed due to growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
A representative said that the festival, which celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern descent, has been postponed indefinitely.
The statement reads: “For many in our communities, COVID-19 is only making worse what it already means to live as queer people of colour in Britain. COVID-19, and the attendant lockdowns and policies, will disproportionately impact Black women, our elders, immigrants, refugees and people of colour in ways we all know too well already.
“We know how many of us need a space like UK Black Pride to celebrate who we are, and we are acutely aware of how many in our communities will be having an especially difficult time during this social upheaval.
“So, the team at UK Black Pride is exploring other ways to bring our communities together; to amplify the great work taking place across our communities to combat loneliness, isolation and ill mental health; and to provide opportunities for connection, joy and laughter. Importantly, each of us is staying at home to do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
UK Black Pride continued to urge people to be kind to one another, follow the advice from governments and medical professionals, and to reach out to others who may be feeling isolated due to the lockdown measures in place.
“When it is safe to do so, we look forward to celebrating UK Black Pride’s 15th birthday with you. UK Black Pride is only possible because of all of you. You are all our chosen family and we can’t wait to embrace you all,” they added.
“Our communities know better than most that we will get through this. Thank you all for your understanding and for already doing your part to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Please stay safe.”
Executive producer Phyll Opoku-Gyimah said the decision to postpone UK Black Pride is “heart-wrenching but must be done”.
“For 15 years we have prioritised the safety and wellbeing of LGBTQ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American descent and in light of COVID-19, it makes sense to take this action,” she wrote.
“Our communities are full of people who have persevered, who have always found a way through, and COVID-19 is another challenge that we will get through together. Thank you all for the messages, concerns and questions.”
She concluded her post by reiterating the importance of following governmental guidelines, supporting the NHS and looking out for the “most vulnerable in our communities and to speak truth to power.”
Over 100 Pride events around the world have been officially cancelled or postponed, including Pride in London.
Kristine Garina, president of the European Pride Organisers Association, said: “Prides cancelling or postponing because of COVID19 has reached 100, and it’s very clear that this pandemic is going to have a huge impact on our movement.
“Right now we must all be focusing first on our own wellbeing and the welfare of those around us, but we are passionate about Pride and we will work together, and do all we can, to help Pride organisers get through this.”
Social distancing and staying inside has been advised by government and health officials to help fight the spread of the global pandemic, which has spread across the world and taken the lives of 22,000 people (as of writing).
There are over 500,000 confirmed cases worldwide, and so far, 121,000 people have recovered.
It is also encouraged that we wash our hands frequently, avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth, and practice respiratory hygiene by covering our mouth and nose with our bent elbow or tissue when we cough or sneeze.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, it is vital that you seek medical care.
For more information, check out the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on the coronavirus pandemic here.