Almost 50 years ago, police invaded the Stonewall Inn, a safe haven in Greenwich Village for all in the LGBTQ+ community to stay, dance, drink, and to be themselves. At the time, the NY State Liquor Authority did not give liquor licenses to those who served to LGBTQ+ individuals, making the Inn a frequent police target. June 28, 1969 was different. The patrons of the Inn fought back in an effort to resist the police discrimination. Many were blackmailed, jailed, institutionalized, and even killed, but their resilience was met with a large support of the community, and the modern-day LGBT rights movement was born.

One year later, the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March, what we know today as the annual PRIDE March, was held in New York City. Protesters spanned across 15 blocks of the city and marched along Sixth Avenue from Greenwich Village to Central Park. It was a political demonstration, not a celebration, that protested police violence to the community.

Now, the marches have taken on a slightly different meaning. By marching, we not only remember the violence and discrimination that brought us here and battles that are still faced, but also celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the progress that has been made.

IVY is joining in by hosting events in celebration of Pride throughout June, the official Gay and Lesbian Pride Month since 1999. We sat down with our Events Director, Will Ruiz, to learn more about the events.

Why is it important to have events supporting Pride? What is the purpose of having these events?
One of the anchors of celebrating PRIDE is building community. As a membership organization, IVY recognizes and celebrates its members and partners from the LGBTQ+ community who strengthen our community by bringing unique and diverse perspectives and experiences to our membership.

How is IVY celebrating and honoring Pride at these events?
In addition to the artistic and social components of our Pride events, including pop-up drag performances and other musical surprises, IVY will use these events as an opportunity to educate our members on the origin and history of the iconic rainbow flag, most importantly, what each color of the flag symbolizes in the LGBTQ+ community. For example, the red stripe most commonly symbolizes LOVE, which is why we have themed Pride events, Love Wins — to celebrate love amongst our entire community. We are also using these events to bring awareness to issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community by partnering with 7 local LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations to raise funds and awareness for each cause through ticket sales and fundraising activations at each event.

Why should people come to the Pride events? Should it just be people from the LGBTQ+ community?
If anyone has attended a Pride festival or parade, it’s quite clear to see that Pride is for everyone and celebrates love and community in all forms. With that, people should attend an IVY Pride event if they’re interested in being part of a fun, community building, educational and social impact driven cocktail party! These are all pillars of what IVY is truly about.

What should IVY members expect from a Pride event?
To build community, celebrate a great cause, support a non-profit, learn something new, and have a wonderful time.

Interested in attending an event? Be sure to check out which IVY Pride celebration events are being held near you on your city events page!