Written by: Kara Kundert
As we enter the heyday of our second Pride season as an organization, I’ve been thinking about what to say for our welcome message. How can I welcome people to Bluegrass Pride 2018? What can I say that we haven’t already said? What does it really mean to welcome people anyway?
As the social media director of Bluegrass Pride, I have been blessed with the role of being our main point of contact between the public and the organization. I get to hear from the people who have been touched by Bluegrass Pride firsthand – I hear your stories, your struggles, and your pride. I invite you to our events, I try to get you to engage with the pictures we post and the funny anecdotes we share. Every time you interact with our page, I get a little notification telling me that our movement means something to you.
I have been continually blown away by the personal experiences people have chosen to share with us. Some of them break my heart: I have heard more cases than I care to remember of people being pushed out bands, feeling unwelcome at jams and festivals, and remaining closeted (to this day!) for fear of their community’s reaction. But I’ve also heard stories of incomprehensible beauty – people who have reached out to our page to tell us that our little project has made them feel truly welcome in bluegrass for the first time in their lives.
Bluegrass Pride exists purely to spread love – of music and of people. We want current bluegrassers to know that they are loved and treasured for who they are and the music they make, and we want future bluegrassers to know that they are welcome to come as they are without fear of retribution or exclusion. We want the world to know that bluegrass and old-time music are for everybody, regardless of age, race, gender, orientation, nationality, upbringing, or politics. There’s nothing more to it than that – there is no slippery slope at which we stand on the precipice, no ideological cliff off of which to tumble. Just us reaching out our arms to welcome more people to our big, warm, wonderful family.
So whether you’ve been with us since day one or you just got here yesterday, allow us the chance now to say, welcome. We’re so excited to have you as a part of our family. And allow us also to make you this promise: we will keep saying welcome in every way we can, as loudly as we can, for as long as we can.
Welcome. Welcome to Bluegrass Pride.