Equality Springfield raises funds for upcoming Pride celebration weekend

Plans are already starting for the annual Pride event in Downtown Springfield, hosted by Equality Springfield.

To support the event, the organization is hosting a fundraiser from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at Mother Stewart's Brewing Company. The fundraiser will include a drag show, 50/50 raffle and a silent auction.

While most of the funding for Pride comes from event sponsors, Equality Springfield hosts events like this one throughout the year to support the efforts, says Joey Fultz, chair of the Pride committee for Equality Springfield.

The event is free, with a $5 suggested donation for entry to help raise funds. Mother Stewart's is also donating $1 of every drink sold to support Pride. Futlz says this is the organization's largest fundraiser of the year.

Pride is important because of the event's focus on celebrating and commemorating the culture and activism of the LGBTQ+ community, he says.

"When I grew up, we didn't have Pride, and I would think it would have made a lot of difference to see other people who were living their truth," Fultz says. "So, I feel the biggest thing is trying to let everyone be themselves."

Fultz says Springfield has a strong support network of allies for the LGBTQ+ community and that Equality Springfield is full of both community members and supporters.

"For me, I love the family that is built within Equality Springfield. We have people from all walks of life - some are queer, some are straight, some are trans - it's across the board," he says. "It makes me feel included."

Equality Springfield, Fultz says, has grown to become not only a service organization but also one that builds community among people who may not otherwise feel included. 

"We're all there to have a good time," he says. "We're trying to not only make the community better and ourselves better, but also to focus on our mental health and happiness overall."

This year's Pride celebration will be June 23-25. For more information, follow the Equality Springfield Facebook page, and click here to volunteer to help. 
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Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.