By L.R. Zimmerman

The word “ally” is a powerful one. It is someone who is willing fight for you because they know it’s the right thing to do. A valuable commodity to have amid capitalist systems. In the LGBTQ+ movement , an “ally” describes someone who is ready to speak out against discrimination and provides visibility for the LGBTQ+ community.

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This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Just as the people of Greenwich Village fought for gay rights then, we are continuing to revolutionize gender equality, both locally and around the world.

JOMO Pride is our local ally and advocate to all individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, 26904617_172402730157786_8608649707182490828_nbisexual or transgender or anyone questioning their sexual orientation and/ or gender identity. The group is dedicated to providing a safe space to foster the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of individuals in the local LGBTQ+ community. This affirming support program raises awareness to those lacking cultural diversity, empowers LGBTQ+ people in the Joplin area to live more authentically, and connects our community with allied organizations.

The purpose of the organization is also normalizing. By hosting events and parades, JOMO Pride creates a visible presence for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in our community.

It is vital for our community to band together and adopt a positive stance against discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people and increase their ability to be seen as a social group.

49257859_343208746410516_2443879255197614080_nJOMO Pride cares about our community and welcomes all to be apart of their agendas, events and festivals. They encourage non-members to join the meetings and encourage their input and participation.

I wanted to find out how I can support the cause, so I decided to attend a Pride Board meeting. The meeting was held in a very professional and orderly manner. The council was informative, supportive, and interactive as they asked members and nonmembers to vote on proposed motions. They discussed future goals, new committee members and were genuinely receptive to my suggestions and ideas. The board explained to me how they advocate for local community by providing support groups and visibility for the local LGBTQ+ community. Joplin Pride also acts as a liaison with allied organizations for community members in need of specific outreach programs.

JOMO Pride works toward a better future for the Joplin area. The nonprofit aims to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse community.

Even after a half-century of fighting for equality, LGBTQ+ rights and human rights are54458185_381997109198346_3808204852614397952_n still under attack by the current political and social environment. Let’s celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance with JOMO Pride and take the rally back to the streets at the downtown Diversity Pride Fest. Join JOMO Pride and other community activists for this monumental moment in our local history. Take a stand, show up in force, and make your voice heard!

Become an ally and envision a world where all people are free to express, take pride in, and enjoy fulfilled lives without regard to sexual and gender identities.

 

There are several ways to contribute to the organization. Here is a list of ways you can get involved and promote equality in our community.

  • Attend a Board Meeting – Don’t just live in the community, be a part of it! Attending meetings is a great way to get involved, meet other LGBTQ+ activists, and voice your opinions and concerns. Meetings are held every two weeks on Sunday at Blackthorn Pizza. The next meeting is on March 24th at 6pm.

 

  • Be a Volunteer – JOMO Pride is always in need of event volunteers. Do your part by helping set up or break down events. Be a proud supporter and flag holder during the Pride march. Pass out flyers to spread awareness or assist festival attendees at the Pridefest information table. To become a volunteer, email contact information and availability to jomoprideinc@gmail.com.

 

  • Be a Sponsor – You or your business can contribute to Pride by becoming a sponsor and providing funds for Pride events and festivals. To become a sponsor, contact the Sponsorship Director at m.me/jomoprideinc or email contact and business information to jomoprideinc@gmail.com.

 

  • Be a Vendor – Join the festivities while promoting your business at Downtown Diversity Pride Fest. Local business and organizations can show their support for the LGBTQ+ community and network with other Pride vendors. To set up a vendor booth, contact the Vendor Coordinator at m.me/jomoprideinc or email contact and business information to jomoprideinc@gmail.com.

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  • Go to a Drag Show – Join Joplin’s drag performers in JOMO Pride’s upcoming fundraiser. The Drag Show + Silent Auction is fun way to participate in Joplin Pride activity. The fundraiser is to benefit Pridefest 2019. All proceeds go toward making the festival bigger and better! Place a bid on gift baskets, service packages, local LGBTQ+ artwork and other silent auction items donated by area partners. The event will be held on April 5th from 10 pm until 1 am at Blackthorn Pizza. For more information and details follow this link to the event page. Learn more about Victoria Kennedy’s Drag Queen Bootcamp here.

 

  • Make a Donation – No matter how big or small, every donation makes a difference. Donations are not restricted to monetary gifts. You can donate by contributing an item to auction off at the upcoming fundraiser. Show your support and give back to LGBTQ+ community.  To make a donation, contact the organization’s Treasurer at m.me/jomoprideinc or send email to jomoprideinc@gmail.com.

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