Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce Pride Update

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Joe Woolley executive director of Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce in front of the Tennessee State Capitol
Joe Woolley in front of the Tennessee State Capitol

The organized LGBTQ+ community was formed largely through struggle, and to come together to combat challenges that threatened our day to day lives. The community has always persevered and emerged stronger than ever, because of our commitment to taking care of one another and uniting together. The response to COVID-19 has been no different, and while the virus is impacting the LGBT and all marginalized communities harder, we see the LGBT community coming together like we always have, supporting each other and the organizations that support us. And as we continue to do this, we can still celebrate our pride, just in a different way than we normally do.   

In an ordinary year, Pride celebrations would offer a chance to gather together, celebrate the achievements of the community, and reflect on the future for social change. Now, with our rights still coming under threat and exacerbated by the virus outbreak, we are finding innovative ways of reaching out to provide alternative spaces online to celebrate. We are going virtual and want and need you to join us.  

The Business of Pride

The quarantine has hit many of us hard, especially financially. Many of us will be looking closely at the cost of things and hoping for brighter economic days ahead. When you do spend your money, look for a business that is supportive of the LGBT community, a company that is an LGBT-inclusive corporation, or an LGBT-owned certified business enterprise. It has never been easier to go online or check to make sure you support the brands that have our community’s back. Our online directory and looking for our membership sticker in windows and on cash registers is a great way to do that locally. As the economy regains its footing in the months ahead, leading with a commitment to diversity — as a business owner and consumer — can help supercharge our economy and our community back to where we should be with our 917 billion dollar purchasing power. Be proud of and careful with those dollars and spend them with those that are showing their pride and are part of this amazing community.  

Virtual Pride

This year as Pride goes fully virtual, it offers those wanting to experience it and those trying to reach the community unique opportunities that usually don’t exist. For an individual, there are several factors that can stop the person from showing or watching a pride activity. The person may still be afraid to come out and to participate, or perhaps there are not pride activities nearby and they can not afford to travel to one. A virtual celebration allows them to safely and affordably see the amazing people, families, allies, and supporting organizations that are out there.  

 

LGBT Chamber Virtual Pride Events

We will be having several events during Pride month. Our Rainbow Connection Series that moved online back in March is going strong and you can join us for an event every week of Pride month.  

AM Brewing Up Business– To complement our traditional Brewing Up Business, we will now offer this additional morning networking opportunity. AM BUB will include a short program of announcements from our staff and then small group networking. We will break the larger group into small rooms to exchange information and let peers know you are doing at this time. 

Member Connect– This program will give an in-depth highlight of one of our corporate members and one of our small business members. We will have a Q&A session and have attendees speak to the group to check-in with other members. You will have the opportunity to talk about what you are working on, questions or issues you need help with or anything else you want to address. 

PM Brewing Up Business– This is our signature happy hour networking event. Come connect with chamber and community members in small virtual groups.  

Classroom Connect– This new program highlights a new, unique topic that assists the LGBT community. We will engage with other organizations to keep you informed and connected to opportunities. 

We will also be starting a new Corporate Connect program in June that will help our large corporate members connect recruit a diverse workforce by specifically targeting the LGBTQ+ community. 

We are really excited about a joint event we have been working on with another LGBT chamber to bring entertainment and support to two great cities. The Nashville and Austin LGBT Chambers of Commerce are partnering together to bring you “PRIDE in Local Music’ the rainbow heartbeat of America’s music cities.” This one-night virtual event will highlight the incredible music and cities that are Austin and Nashville and raise funds for LGBTQ+ artists in each city. We hope you will join us! 

 

Stay Informed 

The Chamber created a COVID-19 resources page where we shared all the news and information we felt our members need to know about. We put all that information on our social media as well. A webinar section was created to connect our members to the countless webinars our community partners were putting out. We reached out to all of our members and asked them if to share their information with us to help specifically reach the LGBT population and our news section quickly filled up with important information. Directories were created that highlighted members that were offering takeout, or members that have changed their business to sell their product in a new way. Our Hot Deals section was promoted and soon filled up with specials to other members and the community on a number of items.   

Visit our website for more details on programs, events, and resources: www.nashvillelgbtchamber.org.