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Shreveport's PACE Celebrates Pride in the Park

Pride in the Park is a weekend event hosted by Shreveport’s PACE to bring local members of the LGBTQ+ community together for a festive celebration on April 27.

Pride in the Park is a weekend event hosted by Shreveport’s PACE to bring local members of the LGBTQ+ community together for a festive celebration on April 27.

Heather Goodman-D’Ann is the president of PACE and the chair of Pride in the Park. She has helped plan the event for the past two years and says she has high expectations for this year.

Heather Goodman-D'Ann It’s a time for a lot of people and allies in the community to come together for this event and just socialize and engage with each other. And sometimes meet new people and find out new resources. Fellowship in the community and coming together, and just having a good time together, and just feeling safe and supported. There are a lot of vendors from the area that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Again, we want to make sure that they’re able to have spaces- safe spaces to be able to sell the things that they create. You know, if it wasn’t for them, we may not have a lot of the creation and art that we do have.

Pride in the Park began in 2014 and since then has grown to host around a total of 1500 local vendors and attendees in Colombia Park. The event also features food trucks and a children’s area.

Heather Goodman-D'Ann We will also still have our Drag Story Time and they are dressed as their entertainer’s persona. And they just read some appropriate children’s books to the kids. And then they just kind of engage with the kids and, you know, answer any questions that the kids may have in an appropriately, developmentally way. Because that also gives an opportunity for the kids that have parents that are in the LGBTQ+ community to see that they are being supported and loved, and that there is an actual community out there for them as well. Towards the end of the day is when we, kind of, do our little Show Your Pride. So, not necessarily a fashion show, but we want people to come and just ‘show their pride’ with whatever ‘fit they decide to put on. And then we have, like, an audience participation who chooses who is showing their pride the best. It’s just a come-and-go and have fun and enjoy yourself.

PACE stands for People Acting for Change and Equality and works to advance LGBTQ+ equality in Shreveport. The group started in 2005 as a way to educate the community and participate in the political process. PACE brings awareness to voting days and legislation to its group members, and supported Shreveport’s fairness ordinance in 2013. Heather says Shreveport is a city that should be proud of their LGBTQ+ community.

Heather Goodman D'Ann When you’re thinking about the larger population of Shreveport, you’re always going to have some people who may not be as supportive. We hear a lot of really positive things from our community, and we really try our best to take care of each other and to protect each other when certain people may offer harmful or dangerous words or rhetoric. You know, there’s people who will make sure that they’re speaking out against that, and whether that be an ally or someone in the community. You know, thinking about Shreveport as a whole, one of the things I always tell people is ‘Shreveport has a fairness ordinance that actually protects the LGBTQ+ community against housing discrimination, job discrimination.’ And, so I think that’s a pretty awesome thing for our city and pretty telling, and something, again, that we can be proud of and highlight for our area.

The LGBTQ+ communities of Shreveport come together during Gay-pril to have accessible and fun opportunities for locals to meet and celebrate their identities together. This month, ShrevePride hosted Field Gay and QueerPort is hosting Queerport 2024 on April 20.. Heather says she is proud to be a part of PACE.