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Big Hearts Blog - A Letter from Ric Perez

A labor of love from the start, the founders of Boulder Pride provided our local community a chance to celebrate who we are, while also working to make sure we could do so openly and safely. Many of these founders remain involved with us, and we’re honoring their Big Hearts by highlighting a few of their stories.

An early Longmont Pride BBQ.


Former Board President Ric Perez’s mission was to steward Boulder Pride, which has evolved into Rocky Mountain Equality, into “organizational adulthood”. With more and more programs and events being offered, Ric and the board worked to ensure the community had the services and resources they needed to thrive, even as the community was recovering from the AIDS epidemic and the multitude of anti-same-sex marriage laws that were sweeping the nation.


Ric Perez (left) and Boulder Pride supporters show off Pridefest T-shirts.


In his first letter to the community as President, he wrote the following:


"Changes"

By Ric Perez


Here it is, the end of summer. Vacations are winding down, students are getting ready to return to school, and change is ever-present. These are very exciting and challenging times. For those directly involved with Boulder Pride (BP), it is no different.


With the exit of Matt Patrick as our "parent who has been raising this child" and the departure of other board members over the past year, it has been bustling at the Boulder Pride Board meetings. There have been moments of stress, frustration, and disappointment. What I have come to associate this transition with is that BP is now a teenager; it is no longer a child. It is a young adult asking questions and wanting answers; it is sometimes clumsy and deals with occasional outbreaks, much like the acne of a real teenager. As a LGBTQ organization, we are very aware of these feelings of awkwardness and frustration, but we also enjoy the excitement of the change that is the next thing to come. We are "growing up."


As the new President of the Board for Boulder Pride, I have had many challenges, all of which excite me, especially because my community is changing. The success of our Pride Week events and the number of people who showed up were thrilling. Our county is growing, and so is the LGBTQ community. We see the gatherings of men, women, parents, guardians, youth, and allies, those questioning or transitioning, all in the name of becoming a community. I have met many new people in our county who are excited about these changes, too. I hear, "Thank you for putting this together," or "when is the next event?" and more importantly, "How can I become more involved?"


We are listening to you and trying to advise, plan, and accommodate as fast as our growing clumsy feet can run.


There is a fantastic team of people who serve on the Boulder Pride Board, and with Nick Sarchet at the helm as our Executive Director, that team is proud, confident, and very busy. As you read this newsletter, the board is interviewing more board candidates and attending a strategic planning session for what events and budgets will be considered for the coming year. We will also participate in workshops the Gill Foundation provides to strengthen our board; so much is to be done.


We have events planned for the next nine months that are scheduled to be held in Longmont, Lafayette, Broomfield, Louisville, and Boulder. We are covering the county and changing the way LGBTQ communities are perceived. We are everywhere and want to feel safe and proud to be who we are.


As a community, we have strength in numbers, so help us continue to grow. To do that, we need you, we need your voice, we need your talents, and we need your generosity. We cannot do this without it, so give when you can share, volunteer, attend the events, and make a difference. We are working diligently to provide all sorts of avenues for communication, from our website to the phone line for Boulder Pride. Check us out, drop us a note, call us, and help us make the change.


I want to hear from you, so please feel free to contact any of us. Introduce yourself at the next gathering, or email me. I look forward to sharing this experience with all of you.

 

Thanks for being part of the change; we can make a difference together.


From the heart,

Ric Perez

President, Boulder Pride


While our organization’s name and scope has changed over the years, one thing hasn’t: our dedication to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights at the local and state level. And we still need your generosity to continue our mission of positive change for LGBTQ+ communities.


Reflecting on these formative years, Ric also wrote to tell us, “I recall the tremendous board and supporters helping us nurture the seedling that was Boulder Pride. It all began at Proto's Pizza, where the owners closed the restaurant for us to hold our first town hall, inviting the LGBTQ+ community in the area.


“The response was overwhelming and standing room only. With these amazing people by my side and with the help of many friends including Boulder County AIDS Project, we initiated [our] first county-wide survey, asking questions that helped form what direction we would take to support our growing community. It was picnics, potlucks, beer busts, selling t-shirts, all small steps in raising money for Boulder Pride. It was an honor to serve.”


We are honored by your service in return, Ric. We owe you and all the other founders a debt of gratitude – one which we will repay by continuing to make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people. Thank you for your Big Heart!


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