Enid PrideI guess you could say this article is part informational and part inspirational, at least it is for me. I’m currently in the thick of it, planning for Enid Pride 2011. This year it is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th, from 12:00 – 6:00 p.m. on the South side of Meadowlake Park. This is the third year of Enid Pride, but the first year for the newly formed Enid Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Coalition to host Enid Pride. To add to the firsts, this is my first year acting as Director for Enid Pride. I’ve done some large scale event planning before, but this event in particular, has very special meaning to me, and that starts with this year’s theme for Enid Pride 2011, “It Only Gets Better.”

The YouTube phenomenon “It Gets Better” reaches out to young people and communicates hope to those who are struggling through thoughts of suicide, being bullied, and having difficulty believing that their lives will improve. These short videos that share the message that life gets better, are made by celebrities, sports figures, political leaders, business icons, and even regular folks. Anyone can go to Itgetsbetter.org or YouTube to see these inspirational messages. We want to give youth in Enid the chance to hear the local message that “It Gets Better.” Enid Pride is thrilled to be the first video recording event in Oklahoma to be approved by the national organization, the “It Gets Better Project,” and that official video recording booth will be at Enid Pride. We also want everyone to know that when it comes to Enid Pride in general, the work of Enid LGBT Coalition, and the public role of the Enid LGBTQA community “It Only Gets Better.”

Our objective with “Enid Pride 2011, It Only Gets Better” is three-fold.

  • Celebrate individual diversity with the knowledge that life only gets better.
  • Provide our community with a family friendly celebration that promotes understanding and education.
  • Build relationships by demonstrating our commitment to pursue excellence, create unity, and be of service to all members of our community.

“Pretty lofty goals,” you say. “Can a simple festival in the park really do such things?” you ask. Well, yes, we believe it can, and as it turns out, we’re finding that people agree with us, and here’s why:

As stated, we have the “It Gets Better” video recording booth where attendees can record their own message of success and happiness for the young people of Enid, Oklahoma, and the rest of the world, to see on the internet. We will also have in person “It Gets Better” messages throughout the day on the main stage. Our entertainment program, speakers, and even vendor booths will compliment the theme of “It Only Gets Better.”

We are determined that everything at the festival is appropriate for all ages. Promoting understanding of others and educating in respectful and insightful ways will be the benchmark of the Enid Pride experience.

By using Enid Pride as a way to showcase other local, state, and national organizations and businesses that promote and practice quality of life enhancement, we build a unity in our town that can only be accomplished not just with words, but in deeds.

With each new individual, organization, or business that we share our vision of Enid Pride 2011 with, we become more humbled by the genuine desire of the good people in Oklahoma who want the same thing we want. A safe space for all individuals to come together to celebrate in peace, to encourage young people to never give up hope even when their path seems painfully difficult, and to support each other as members of a community, acknowledging what we all have in common, instead of focusing on our differences to keep us apart.

The fabulous entertainment, variety of vendors, crazy-fun activities, and great food will make for a wonderful day at the park for the family. Beyond all that, what will leave the biggest mark on me is that the support from the people of Enid Only Gets Better. So, for me, it’s back to planning. We still have booth space available if you would like to have one. We still need volunteers if you would like to be one, and we certainly will still be accepting money and donations if you have some! If you are interested, or have questions, please call Enid LGBT Coalition 1-800-878-5298, or email us at enidpride@yahoo.com.