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West Hollywood has extended its contract with JJLA, Inc. to produce WeHo Pride for the next three years, through 2025. The City Council approved the measure unanimously at its Nov. 8 meeting.
“As someone with extensive knowledge of producing large community-wide events, logistically we need to provide ample time for success and community build-up and support,” Councilman John Erickson said. “The multiyear agreement allows the producer to do just that while also building on the longstanding tradition of how critical Pride is to our city. Pride is about community and more importantly, providing that space for those that still may or may not feel comfortable about their gender or sexuality. West Hollywood is part of that story and it’s a tradition that will continue with everyone involved and not just one organization as we’ve seen in decades past.”
The contract extension will include a women’s freedom festival, the OUTLOUD: Raising Voices concert and the Pride Parade. Some of the returning events will include the Dyke March, the Weho Pride Community Street Fair and the WeHo Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.
“It’s very rare to see an entire council and city united around just how successful the inaugural WeHo Pride was, and it makes sense for us to invest long-term in the continued success that Pride brings not only to our community, but also to our businesses and city as a whole,” Erickson said.
The city will allocate no more than the $1.5 million to the organization for the 2023 event. Additional funding was allotted for use by community groups and organizations, as well as for the city to use for set-up and logistics.
While the council expressed satisfaction with JJLA, resident and member of the city’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board Miss Tiger expressed concern about the agreement at the City Council meeting.
“I’m really sad to see that there’s not more conversation,” Miss Tiger said. “I also think that the proposed three-year contract is outside of the original RFP (request for proposal) that was presented to the public which would have extended it to two years, 2023-2024. I don’t think that three years is appropriate. I’m not alone in that. Many people have spoken about that. So, it’s really a shame that community is not being heard.”
Resident Jen Cheng also submitted a letter to the council for consideration.
“The city is a cultural center and destination, especially for questioning and newly out LGBTQ+ people, so Pride needs to have accessibility and cultural inclusion. Community stakeholders need to be engaged in the planning phase well before June 2023. Pride vendors have a social responsibility to the community and a multi-year contract does not serve the need for accountability,” Cheng wrote.
“The community has and will be involved, and we’ve said from Day One that their voices are critical, but it is also ultimately up to us to decide as a council what we believe the best direction should be,” Erickson said. “Perfect is the enemy of the good, and I have faith that all voices will be included in WeHo Pride as it builds up for 2023.”
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