DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Benson group plans Pride events with social distancing

Posted at 2:45 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 15:45:03-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The month of June is often a time when many in the LGBT+ community come together to celebrate Pride, but several festivals and events have had to cancel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

But one group is finding ways to still celebrate Pride in Omaha.

“Everyone feels that pause of like, ‘Where am I? What’s live doing?’" said John-Paul Gurnett of BFF Omaha. "And I think we’re showing that like we have to adjust, we have to adapt. Pride’s not canceled, because you can’t cancel it. It’s not an event. It’s a feeling.”

Gurnett says that though they still want to practice social distancing, the group is planning several events with the idea of remembering the past, celebrating the present and fighting for the future.

With the help of grant from the Omaha Community Foundation’s equality fund, BFF plans to host a community project throughout the month of June.

On June 5, BFF invites artists to share what pride means for them by placing tokens on pillars around the Benson area.

They’re inviting local businesses to show support for the community as well by doing color blocks along the sidewalks.

“We know that not everyone can log onto the website and have that freedom to explore," Gurnett said. "What are those visual community cues that we can keep showing?”

On June 12, the group plans remember the past in Vinton by building ofrendas in honor of those in the LGBT+ community who have died.

June 26 will be a day of action, encouraging the community to fight for the future in whatever way they can.

“The concept of activism is terrifying, but I do think it is that active," Gurnett said. "It’s what are you doing to move to the next, and realizing, that day it may be getting up, and that day may be calling your senator and that day may be writing a check.”

And the final event will be a livestream of Queer Nite, which will feature performances by several artists.

The group is planning several other projects throughout the month and invites anyone interested in collaborating to reach out to them on Facebook.