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How We Started Dayton Black Pride

Told by Chrisondra Goodwine, the founder.

In June 2021, I traveled to Dallas and attended Pride. While exploring the diversity represented at the event, I naturally gravitated towards the Black LGBTQ vendors. After chatting it up for a bit, the vendors extended an invite to the Dallas Black Pride party. The party was lit! As a person that exclusively lived in the Midwest (Dayton, Ohio) all her life, I had never seen so many Black and brown LGBTQ+ people in one space, living their best lives! It was simply beautiful.

I realized the love I felt being surrounded by my people was missing from the Pride celebration. Then it got a little deeper. While sitting in the airport, I started to reflect on how Black LGBTQ+ people aren’t really celebrated or embraced by either the black or LGBTQ+ community. It’s really bad. In the Black community, a lot of us aren’t afforded the same acknowledgments as cis-gender counterparts. We don’t even talk say words like “cisgender.” Our environment intentionally depicts the gays (that’s how the entire community is referred to most of the time) as morally wrong, a sin, or just something that’s not talked about/acknowledged. This kind of behavior pushed me (and many others) to seek approval from accepting non-black allies/community members, which is great. Or it was great at the beginning of the journey into the LGBTQ+ realm. I personally appreciate all the love and support I’ve received from non-black allies and community members. But it doesn’t replace the love and support I crave from my community.

Like any millennial sitting in the airport, I took a selfie, made a Facebook post about how Dayton needed a space for Black LGBTQ+ people to connect, and hopped on the plane.  What happened next was crazy! People from all backgrounds responded! Many Black LGBTQ+ people responded and shared their stories. After all the love received on the post, a Facebook & Instagram was created, 300 plus individuals liked the page and a meeting was set!  Seven new friends ( Chrisondra Goodwine, Vanessa Moon, Melachi Carroll, Danny Thomas, NaAsiaha Simon, Michael Knote, and Naomi Tellis) got together and planned a Pride festival for the Black and brown communities.  In five weeks, 26 organizations and businesses signed up to sponsor the festival just because they wanted to see us win! At the festival, we had over 30 vendors and 300 attendees! The Mayor (Nan Whaley) and City manager (Shelley Dickstein) showed us some love! Also, community members took advantage of resources, HIV testing, Covid-19 vaccinations, and full health screenings! People danced, enjoyed a variety of entertainment, shopped, and experienced good food. And the best part, the festival was held in West Dayton! For the first time in Dayton’s history, Black LGBTQ+ people got to showcase all the things we love about ourselves in our community. The only word to describe how many of us felt, is complete.

One year later, we working on making this festival an annual celebration and adding programs that supports many gaps in our community.

I will leave you all with famous words from Biggie Smalls, “It was all a dream.”

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