Inaugural Jeffersonville Pride Festival created to encourage acceptance, kindness
Volunteers of America Mid-States, led by our HIV Services department, will participate in this summer's inaugural Jeffersonville Pride Festival, the first-ever lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride festival in Southern Indiana.
Jeffersonville Pride Festival was conceived and created by festival director Evan Stoner, an 18-year-old freshman at Hanover College. After seeing derogatory language directed towards the LGBT community in his area on social media and experiencing personal bullying, Evan knew he wanted to do something that would "have a positive impact on the community no matter what," he said.
After coming up with the concept for Jeffersonville Pride Festival, Stoner worked closely with the Southern Indiana Equality organization to plan the festival and connect with partner organizations, like Volunteers of America. The Jeffersonville community and city leadership were quick to support the organization and Stoner's plans for the inaugural festival, he said.
"It's been really incredible how the city has responded to this," Evan shared, noting that Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore was an early supporter of Jeffersonville Pride. "I honestly did not expect it to get to the point where it is…people are having a dialogue about LGBT issues and equality."
The family-friendly festival will be held Saturday, June 25 at the Big Four Station in Jeffersonville and will include a full day of entertainment, children's activities, food vendors and a business and organization fair. Volunteers of America's Stop the Spread of HIV Through Outreach and Prevention (S.T.O.P.) team will be providing educational and testing information and will participate in the parade.