Brook here, and I’m a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. I remember my first Pride festival way back in the day when I was a young queer student at UNC Asheville. Along with the rest of the crowd, my friends and I marched through downtown, and I’ll never forget the sense of hope + power I felt cresting the top of Walnut St. and turning around to look at the streets below me filled with people. And since that time, I’ve enjoyed Pride celebrations elsewhere, but the ones I attended here at home are among my favorites.
Even without any lived personal experiences of bigotry and inequality, there’s a lot to take in and understand about LGBTQ+ history, discrimination, rights, and theevolution of the cultural acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ people.
Local pride Asheville-based Blue Ridge Pride Center works to educate folks about the history, diversity, and future of queer folks in the mountains, as well as raise awareness to counter + eliminate homophobia, transphobia and discrimination.
In the past, locals have also celebrated with a June Pride Party and a Blue Ridge Pride Festival in the fall. Blue Ridge Pride’s Executive Director Tina White said there were initially plans to promote Pride virtually. But as protests for racial equality erupted across the country and in Asheville, the goal for June became to listen to folks who haven’t felt heard — like those in the Black Lives Matter movement — and who are asking for a greater voice, she said.
What’s next? ○ The board + leadership team of Blue Ridge Pride will reassess the pride festival (slated for September) in August and make a decision about it then. ○ October is LGBT History Month, including National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.
How to get involved? ○ As part of their focus on listening, Blue Ridge Pride will continue to move resources to their Community Partner Fund, which supports projects, groups + community service orgs that benefit the LGBTQ communities + allies in WNC.You can donate to the fund here. ○ The org is redoubling efforts to capture voices for its Oral History Project, which is a collaboration between the Center, the YMCA of Western North Carolina, and UNC Asheville. Wanna contribute your own story? You can do so — named or anonymously — here. ○ In order to best assist the community’s unmet needs + priorities, the Center is compiling answers to its Community Needs Assessment. Want to offer your two cents? Reach out to leaders through Facebook or email.
Quoteworthy: “It’s not just the format but the meaning of public events is changing. Festivals are important expressions of what shared space means. We can use public space to model what a welcoming community looks like. We want to model a more just society, and when we can have a public pride celebration again, it will be very important for these reasons.” – Blue Ridge Pride Center Executive Director Tina White
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○ NC’s Department of Health and Human Services reported atotal of 62,142 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina as of Sunday afternoon. 547 cases and 36 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. Check stats for other counties, total tests, and more in NChere.
○ NC Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest plans to sue Governor Roy Cooper for violating the state’s Emergency Management Act through his executive orders, including the latest order, which requires people to wear masks in public and lengthens Phase 2 of reopening. Forest said that Gov. Cooper has not sought agreement from theCouncil of State, of which he is a member, before issuing orders. (CNN)
○ 575 pints of blood were collected from WNC’s 33rd annual Operation Blood Drive. The Red Cross also tested donors for COVID-19 antibodies. The blood drive took place in over a dozen locations across WNC, including Trinity Baptist Church (216 Shelburne Rd.). COVID-19 has caused many blood drives to be cancelled as the need for donations has risen. (WLOS)
○ NC has yet to implement the federal government’s policy for every nursing home resident + staff member to be tested for COVID-19. Experts on nursing home policy recommend giving nursing homes deadlines to meet + penalties if they fail to do so. Nursing home residents + personnel make up less than one percent of the total population but account for more than half of deaths due to COVID-19. (News & Observer)
○ Governor Roy Cooper’s decision to extend Phase 2 has angered some business owners, but not the owner of Asheville Brewing. Mike Rangel is still not allowing indoor seating, saying that Asheville Brewing is following its own phases to be more cautious. Asheville Brewing allowed limited outdoor dining options a few days ago at their Merrimon Ave. + Coxe Ave. locations. The Hendersonville location is openfor curbside pickup only. (WLOS)
○ The legality of wearing masks in NC could be confusing come August, as lawmakers voted to remove a provision that would have made face masks legal to wear in public. The vote came Friday at 2 a.m., the same day Gov. Cooper’s mandatory mask order went into effect. They’ll return to the issue in July. Earlier this year, lawmakers voted to suspend the law prohibiting masks until Aug. 1. (Charlotte Observer)
○Tech jobs could be key to reigniting Asheville’s economy. Unlike tourism + hospitality, the tech sector has not been devastated by the pandemic, and more tech jobs are coming as reliable internet access enables technology-based work-from-home job possibilities. Companies like Facebook + Google have allowed staff to work from home for the remainder of the year, and studies show nearly 20% of companies in the US are following suit by adding permanent telecommuting policies for employees. (AVL Watchdog)
Click the button below for local resources regarding the coronavirus.
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Asheville’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
The Phase 2 extension began on Fri., and some folks are liable to have questions about what that means for them. The United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County reminds us that they are there — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — to help answer questions ranging from housing + employment to food resources + legal issues. All you have to do is dial 211 to reach someone who can assist you. ☎️
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Civic ○ Asheville Police Chief David Zack says the department is looking into arresting some of the armed counter protesters seen at the June 21 demonstration where protesters painted “Defund the Police” on the street in front of APD headquarters. This comes after numerous complaints from citizens about the department’s lack of response to the incident. A state statute makes it illegal to openly carry firearms on public property. (WLOS) ○ Demonstrators gathered + marched in downtown Sunday afternoon to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, an event recognized as launching the modern gay liberation movement. Participants said they also took to the streets to show support for Black trans lives. The Stonewall riots were initiated by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender women of color. (WLOS)
Health ○ Bee pollen can helpwith seasonal allergies, according to Tammy Combs of the Asheville Bee Charmer. Combs has been using bee pollen instead of a decongestant or allergy medicine. Combs said it is a great source of protein, a full B vitamin spectrum + folic acid, which helps your immune system. You can add the pollen to anything that doesn’t require heating, like smoothies, cereal, or water. Scientists have not confirmed if bee pollen has any health benefits. 🐝 (WLOS)
Region ○ Waynesville’s Kiwanis Club is updating its playground at the town’s recreation park after 20+ years. The club raised $50,000 for new swings and equipment through a donation drive, variety show + raffle. An old fence picket with Riley Howell’s name on it was discovered, and the club plans to include it in a future information kiosk at the playground. 💰 (WLOS)
Biz ○ Charles Edward Industries, an electronics manufacturer specializing in circuit boards, announced plans to invest $1.5 million in a new manufacturing operation in Asheville. This will happen over the next three years + will create 60 new jobs. The company plans to relocate its headquarters + expand into an existing building on Broadway St. next to the Moog Music factory (160 Broadway St.) (Mountain Xpress)
Outdoors ○ TheFrench Broad River Metropolitan Planning Organizationreleased their Hellbender Regional Trail draft plan for public comment. The plan brings together the bicycle, pedestrian + greenway plans developed locally in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties. It shows existing + planned trails that may someday connect to form a regional network for bicycle and pedestrian travel. Public comment is open until Aug. 21. 🚴♀️
Learn ○ Three veteran business execs are offering a free class calledStarting a Business with a 50+ Brain and An Entrepreneurial Mindset. Sherree Lucas, Carl Nordgren + Mark Tully will be teaching the five-week course beginning June 30. Classes are from 10-11:30 a.m. The class will also feature guest speakers and their entrepreneurial tales. 💼
TheBuy ○ Asheville Outlets is hosting the Warehouse Sale from July 3-12, a traveling shoe store pop-up featuring brand name shoes at up to 80% off traditional retail prices. Brands include Michael Kors, Timberland, BCBG, Adidas + more in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes. 🥾
WaterCooler ○ Western Carolina University placed 60 student-athletes on the 2020 Spring Academic All-Southern Conference Team. The Catamounts had the seventh-most selections among the league’s 10 full-time members. Women’s indoor and outdoor track led the way with 13 selections while softball was second with 10. 🎓
Listen ○ Speaking of Travel’s Marilyn Ball + WHKP’s Randy Houston have partnered with The NC Veterans Writing Alliance Foundation to produce the podcast Brothers And Sisters Like These. Named after a veteran’s writing group, this podcast features veterans sharing their personal stories to help educate and bring healing to other veterans. 🎧
Answered: When it comes to parklets + shared streets, y’all are split on whether you’ll be using them downtown. 41% of you said they would motivate you to come downtown more and visit local businesses, while 46% say you still won’t feel safe enough.
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