Despite Closure Of Prominent Center, Bronx Pride Festival Takes Place
Despite the fact that the Bronx Community Pride Center was forced to close its doors last month, the Bronx Pride Festival still took place Saturday. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
The Bronx Pride Festival almost didn't happen this year after the Bronx Community Pride Center that sponsored this for several years was forced to close its doors last month.
Former Executive Director Lisa Winters was charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records. Prosecutors said she stole more than $300,000 from the pride center between 2005 and 2009. She was fired in 2010 but the center had trouble recovering financially.
Festival participants were excited that the center was able to raise $5,000 to throw Saturday's event.
"When we closed the agency down on June 30, then to have to cancel this would be double the disappointment," said Antonio Centano, a board member of the center. "That we were able to salvage this event today is light at the end of the tunnel."
Other community agencies must pick up the support services of the center. Vivian Ponce is a poster child of sorts for hivstopswithme.org. She has lived with HIV since 1997 and educates others.
"HIV is still here and it's not going going away anytime soon. There is a large population of black people, tremendous big, and we're wondering why there is so much. There is a new pill out but we don't know, is it safe?"
"This festival is so important here in the Bronx," said State Sen. Jose Serrano. "Maybe 25 years ago, it would be unheard of to have a festival of this kind out in the open. (It) speaks volumes about the growth of the LGBT community in New York and the Bronx in particular."
While other groups will provide health care and services to the Bronx LGBT community, the pride center can't be replaced for its cultural activities and support groups. That's one reason events like this are so important.