Peace Coffee won’t be at the Pride Parade this year. We won’t be sampling Yeti Cold Press in Loring Park, or throwing coffee beans from the back of our bike trailer along the parade route.
And that’s a good thing.
Peace Coffee won’t be at Pride for the same reason we give staff other holidays off: so our diverse and amazing people can celebrate their community. To mark the fact that now our sales director and her now-wife were able to marry. To remember that our boss was told at a former job “you can work here but you have to take out your nose ring and you can’t let anyone know that you are gay.” To stand with a former coffee roaster who is trans cowers when they enter a men’s bathroom. So many of us are a part of the queer community and we’ll be there with friends and family having a good time, because this month especially it seems like we all need to be together and have a moment of collective joy, or just cry it out together—or both.
I went to my first Pride Parade by accident. I was rollerblading along the Mississippi River with my dad and we decided to cut back home through downtown Minneapolis. As we turned onto Hennepin Avenue, we unexpectedly ran into the starting point of the Pride parade. Eager spectators lined up along the curb for blocks, woman on motorcycles, aka the Dykes on Bikes, revved their engines by a procession of large floats and convertibles adorned with rainbow colored flags and streamers. It felt like a dream, so many beautiful people marching together, singing, dancing, chanting and celebrating one another. My dad held my hand and said “pretty amazing, right !?!”.
My dad didn’t plan for us to stumble on the Pride parade, but I sometimes wonder if we hadn’t if I would have felt comfortable coming out of the closet. Something changed in me in that day, seeing so many members of the queer community, drag queens, parents, students, pastors, and elected officials smiling, holding hands, kissing, marching together loud and proud!
Since that first Pride Parade in Minneapolis I’ve gone to many more in my hometown and across the country from Seattle to San Francisco to Chicago. No matter the location, it always feels like I’m home, like I am with family, like I’m seen and, most importantly, loved.
This is what Pride weekend has always been for me, a moment to dance, march, laugh and celebrate. When these spaces and moments are attacked and made unsafe like they were in Orlando, our whole community feels it and it is a reminder that we still have so much more work to do dismantling homophobia, transphobia, racism and hatred. In the papers this morning, I read that there will be increased security at all of the Pride festivities and I appreciate the support. We are resilient, we are strong, we are loving and we will not live in fear.
I will be at Pride again this year like every year, and I hope you will join me, even if I’m not giving out coffee.