By KJ Philp, May 2015 Issue. Meet the other winners here.
Just as Pride in Phoenix celebrated its 35th anniversary, our readers again declared the Phoenix Pride festival their favorite community event or festival for 2015.
Echo caught caught up with Justin Owen, Phoenix Pride executive director, following the Echo Readers’ Choice Awards ceremony April 9 and here’s what he had to say:
Echo: This year marks 35 years of Pride events in Phoenix, does that make this award even more significant? How so?
Owen: Absolutely! Receiving this award during our 35th Annual Pride Celebration shows that we continue to make a difference every day.
Echo: How much of the calendar year goes into planning the two-day Pride festival that our readers know and love?
Owen: Our planning process for Pride festival begins in November of the previous year. We meet continuously for six months to plan the best possible festival that we can. The festival itself takes 10 days to produce. We begin building the festival the Monday before and we are finished taking everything down the Wednesday after.
Echo: Pride has a significant role in Celebrating LGBT History! Arizona 1969-2014, a collaboration with Marshall Shore and ASU Libraries, tell us a little bit about that.
Owen: Phoenix Pride is the driving force between the history project. It is something that we have been thinking about for two years and decided to initiate it this year to coincide with the 35th annual Pride celebration. Phoenix Pride reached out to ASU and Marshall to begin the project and couldn’t be more excited to have them on our team.
Echo: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Owen: You can please some of the people all of the time; all of the people some of the time and some of the people none of the time. Don’t try to make everyone happy, just do what is fair, just and right and you can make a difference.
Echo: Anything you’d like to tell readers about Pride the organization versus Pride the festival?
Owen: Pride is so much more than a weekend and a festival. Pride is a year round service organization with more programs and offerings than you could imagine. Please check out our website and the Community Center to see all of the amazing things that Phoenix Pride does throughout the year.
Echo: Where can you be spotted when you’re not planning Pride and Rainbows festivals?
Owen: At the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center. The center is open year round offering a multitude of programs and services to the community.
Echo: What new and exciting things can we expect to see from Pride between now and the 2016 Echo Readers’ Choice Awards?
Owen: Continued growth in the offerings and events put on by Phoenix Pride and the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center. Phoenix Pride will be producing more education and outreach events throughout the Valley than we ever have before.
Echo: Is there anyone you’d like to thank? Shoutouts you’d like to make?
Owen: The over 750 amazing volunteers that help us put on our events throughout the year!
Echo: Anything else you’d like to add, the floor is yours?
Owen: I encourage everyone to come by the center and check out the services that it offers. The center makes a difference in people’s lives every day.