LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Looking for ways to celebrate the second Pride Month to occur during the coronavirus pandemic while also supporting the health of the community, the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition came up with a way to combine COVID-19 vaccinations with Pride festivities.
The Coalition is partnering with Patients R Waiting and Union Community Care for two free vaccine clinics in June. The latter two organizations provide the vaccines, and the Coalition brings the celebration.
The first vaccine clinic, with the theme “Vogue, Vaccines, and Visibility,” is this Saturday, June 12 (although “vaccine clinic” seems like too narrow a term to encompass the whole event). The day will include vendors offering Pride swag as well as performances by DJ Salinger and ballroom legend Niambi E. Stanley, a.k.a. Niambi Prodigy.
Ballroom is an underground LGBTQ+ subculture in which participants — usually Black or Latinx LGBT individuals — compete for trophies and prizes. Niambi Prodigy has been a renowned part of the ballroom scene for almost three decades, although she hasn’t performed in about 4 or 5 years. She’s excited to be returning to the stage for this upcoming vaccination event.
“I think that this is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful concept,” Niambi Prodigy said. “A lot of times the underground ballroom community is underground, and it really doesn’t get access to a lot of things, a lot of community events, even healthcare and things like that.”
“I think this ‘Vogue, Vaccines, and Visibility’ is needed, and it’s very, very important,” Niambi Prodigy said.
Karen Foley, executive director of the Lancaster LBGTQ+ Coalition, hopes the event can help get the vaccine to harder-to-reach populations while also bringing Lancaster’s LGBTQ+ community together to celebrate Pride.
“I specifically wanted to focus on a vaccine clinic to promote health equity for our community and bring some joy,” Foley said.
Niambi Prodigy is also looking forward to using her ballroom platform to increase the visibility of the ballroom community and the challenges that its members, especially trans people of color, face, while also encouraging people to get vaccinated.
“This is a wonderful way for me to use my ballroom name to bring people together for a great cause,” Niambi Prodigy said.
The June 12th vaccination event takes place from 8-5 at Union Community Care, and Niambi Prodigy will be performing from 3-5. Community members can make appointments to receive their shots online here, and walk-ins are also welcome.
The clinic will distribute Moderna vaccines, and the second dose will be given at a June 27th event titled “Salsa y MerenGay Vaccination Clinic” and held at McCaskey High School. This second event will feature an inclusive salsa lesson at 2 and a performance by DJ Ecliptic from 2-5.
The shots will be distributed indoors, while all performances will take place outside, explains Foley. Community members don’t have to be getting the vaccine to attend these events.
“For Pride Month, we really wanted to highlight the ballroom community, we wanted to give some visibility for folks that maybe don’t get a chance to get up on stage [and] also to have a place for our entire community to connect and celebrate finally after a horrible, horrible year of a lot of pain,” Foley said.
Foley is looking forward to creating these events where members of the LGBTQ+ community have “the ability to connect and have joy…and celebrate Pride.”
More information about Pride Month festivities in Lancaster County can be found on the Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition’s website.