There Will Be No Equality Forum This Year
Have you noticed something missing along the Avenue of the Arts? About this time every year, there are rainbow flags waving down Broad Street announcing the Equality Forum, which usually takes place over a long weekend in Philadelphia in early-May. There are no flags this year, however, and that’s because there won’t be an Equality Forum in 2015.
Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin tells me they’ve suspended the Forum this year to focus solely on the 50th Anniversary of the Annual Reminders celebration that’s taking place in Philly this July. “It made no sense to have an Equality Forum followed shortly thereafter with the 50th Anniversary celebration. We had to make a decision between the two, and the board thought the latter was more in keeping with our mission.”
Lazin says Equality Forum has spearheaded the 50th Anniversary celebrations from the beginning—much like they did in 2005, during the much-smaller 40th Anniversary celebration. Some of the key ways they’ve helped pull the celebration together this year are by acquiring a permit from the National Parks Service to have a ceremony at Independence Hall on July 4th; they provided briefings to park rangers so they will be well informed when they lead tours around the time of the celebration; and they’ve connected with other Philly organizations—from museums to community centers to gay bars—to organize the vast list of events. Philly Pride Presents, for instance, will host a block party in the Gayborhood following the July 4th ceremony.
I asked Lazin if the Equality Forum would pick up where it left off next year, and he said maybe. “That will be up to our board, and I believe it’s their full intention to continue the Equality Forum into the future.”
As we’ve already discussed, Philadelphia is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the Annual Reminders, which are regarded as the first LGBT protests in the nation. The four-day celebration will include art exhibits, a block party and reenactment of the protests at Independence Hall on July 4th, among other things. You can check out our roundup of all the ways Philly is celebrating here.