Rainbow World Fund statement on cancellation of Cuban Pride celebrations 5-7-19
Responding to the news of the cancellations of the marches, Jeff Cotter, executive director of the Rainbow World Fund, who has organized a delegation to Cuba that was to participate in the Jornada, stated,
“We’ve just received the news, but we are, of course, still going. It’s disappointing that the two Congas (Pride marches) — have been cancelled. They are a powerful means to organize and show the strength and vitality of the LGBTQI community. We hope that they will return next year.”
Although the Congas have been cancelled, the Jornada has many other activities that occur during the near 3 weeks it is observed. Art exhibits and performances, political panels, and community meetings will provide a palette of exciting experiences. The highlight of the Jornada will be the presentation of the CENESEX Prize by Mariela Castro to LGBTQI icon Cleve Jones at the IDAHOBiT Gala on Friday, May 10 at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater.
Noted Cotter, “RWF has been working in Cuba for eight years supporting the LGBTQI community, helping children with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illness, and providing direct aid following natural disasters. During that time, we have seen Cuba’s LGBTQI community evolve and mature and know that they have the strengths to over come this unfortunate decision by their government. Our work in Cuba has always been about supporting the people. As an international humanitarian aid organization we are used to navigating the obstacles inherent in social and political change. Our mission is to promote peace, unity, hope and freedom in the world. We remain in solidarity with our LGBTQI brothers and sisters in Cuba.”
Please using us join in supporting our Cuban LGBTQ brothers and sisters in their struggle for civil rights and full recognition in Cuban society.
This May, Rainbow World Fund is returning to Cuba for our eight annual humanitarian aid trip. We are traveling with a delegation of 20 queer activists from San Francisco to participate in the 12th Cuban Journey against Homophobia and Transphobia (the Jornada) — Cuba’s LGBTQ Pride Celebration.
Cleve Jones, founder of The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation will be part of our delegation. Jones was invited to Cuba by Dr. Mariela Castro Espin, on behalf of the Cuban organizers of the Jornada to participate in educational and cultural exchange activities and to receive the CENESEX (Cuban National Center for Sex Education) Prize in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of the LGBTQ movement.
The Jornada takes place over an approximately three week in May each year. It is a time for the LGBTQ community to come together, gather strength, heal and inspire. It includes social gatherings, educational activities, artistic expressions, and celebrations. Jones will be awarded the CENESEX prize on May 10 during a gala celebration at the Karl Marx Theater. Jones will also be a Grand Marshal at the Cuban version of the Pride Parade. Known as The Conga, the parade will be held in Havana on May 11. A second Conga and related activities will coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO day) on the May 17 weekend in Camagüey. Although small in comparison to San Francisco’s Pride Parade, the Havana Conga draws an attendance audience of over 5,000 people and continues to grow. The Jornada takes place over an approximately three week in May each year.
Our delegation is funding $25,000 in scholarships that will enable hundreds of LGBTQ activist from the country’s 16 provinces to travel to Havana to attend Pride, network, organize and attend several days of trainings during the Jornada period. For many, this will be the first time to travel outside of their home provinces, let alone attend a large LGBTQ gathering. Bringing together so many Cuban LGBTQ activists has never been done before. This will be a unique opportunity for the activists to share resources, tools and strategies to reach the next level in their movement to achieve full civil rights and recognition in Cuban society.
RWF is raising an additional $25,000 to fund humanitarian projects on the Island that will help children with chronic medical conditions and fund additional projects supporting the Cuban LGBTQ community.
While in Cuba from May 8-18, the RWF delegation will visit Cuban hospitals, clinics and schools, learning about how they function and the challenges they face. Much of RWF’s activities in Cuba are coordinated through the Cuban Council of Churches. The Council has worked with churches in the United States to promote reconciliation between the two countries. Of particular concern is the U.S. embargo – referred to by Cubans as “El Bloque” or the Blockade – and the impact it has had on the Cuban people. The council, with notable leadership from the Cuban Presbyterian, Metropolitan Community Church and Baptist churches, have been deeply involved with and supportive of LGBTQ rights. The members of the Cuban Council of Churches are more progressive than most of the religious establishment. Despite criticism for their activism in this area, they have demonstrated their commitment and dedication over the years.The trip is designed to connect the Rainbow World Fund delegates on a person-to-person level with Cubans including human rights and LGBTQ leaders, members of Parliament, government officials, political dissidents, and religious, arts and cultural figures.
Traveling in the Rainbow World Fund delegation will be San Francisco drag performance artist, activist and philanthropist Juanita More, as well as several members of The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence.
Rainbow World Fund along with Cleve Jones, Juanita More and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be hosting a service of fundraising events in San Francisco.
Help us reach our $50,000 goal!
Please note: We are all paying our own way to be on the trip. 100% of the funds raised will go to help people in Cuba.
DONATE: HELP LGBTQ CUBANS ACHIEVE FULL CIVIL RIGHTS— DONATE TO CLEVE JONES' CAMPAIGN TO RAISE $25K FOR LGBTQ PRIDE IN CUBA: HTTPS://GIVE.CLASSY.ORG/FUND-LGBTQ-PRIDE-IN-CUBA
MEDIA RELEASE: Cleve Jones to receive humanitarian award in Cuba — San Francisco Activists to raise $50K to fund Cuba’s LGBTQ Pride
TRAVEL OPPORTUNITY: Join us in Cuba May 8-18
EVENT: Help Fund LGBTQ Pride in CUBA: Join us Sunday, April 28 from 3-6pm in San Francisco at the Help Fund LGBTQ Pride in Cuba Party. Hosts Cleve Jones, Juanita More, and John Newmeyer welcome you to an evening of Cuban themed cocktails, wine, food and entertainment as we raise funds for Pride in Cuba at Gough House - a beautiful 1889 Victorian Mansion in Pacific Heights. The benefit will feature a three-hour hosted bar with Cuban theme cocktails and amazing hors d'oeuvres. Our fantastic musical entertainment will feature Cuban music and amazing performances. Guests can bid on delightful silent auction items such as wine, spirits, restaurant certificates, massages & more.
See and share the event on Facebook - click here and to Purchase Tickets click here.
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