by Ryan Johns
This winter you might start seeing rainbow stickers showing up in store fronts around the valley. This is due to the newly formed San Luis Valley Pride initiative and its Safe Space program. For the past 2 months a group of individuals from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ) community and their allies have been meeting in Alamosa in an attempt to create community and visibility within this group across the valley. Our next meeting at the Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative in Alamosa will be held at 6:15pm on January 22. All are welcome to attend!
The first meeting on October 16 at Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative (our first designated Safe Space!) in Alamosa was a huge success with over 30 people gathering together. At that meeting the group decided on 3 primary focus areas. The first is simply to create outings and community-building events like bowling nights, book clubs, ice skating, holiday parties, etc. The second primary focus is to create visibility around the valley which is where the Safe Space program was born. We will work to find businesses who want to self-identify as a Safe Space and we will be adding all of these businesses to a growing “Purple Pages”, a public list of all self-identified Safe Space businesses. Our third and final initiative is to organize a San Luis Valley Pride Event for the public during the summer of 2019. The group met again on November 27 at Milagros Coffee Shop and began to actively work on these initiatives, breaking into work groups and addressing envelopes, scheduling activities, and identifying local businesses that may be interested in a safe space designation.
This is an undertaking that has never been done before in this way for the San Luis Valley. There are many places an initiative like this can grow into. We have had discussions about creating a youth drop-in center or creating formal LGBTQ Safe Zone trainings for local school districts. All decisions will be made through the monthly gatherings from those directly involved in the community as funding allows. We are so excited to see this initiative take off and grow so quickly. You know you are headed in the right direction when so many people jump on board to help!
If you would like to designate your business a Safe Space, receive a sticker for your store front and be added to our fast growing “Purple Pages” directory or sign up for our emailing group to receive further information about events, etc., please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-563-9767 for more information. Please spread the word and join us for our next meeting at the Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative in Alamosa on January 22 at 6:15pm. See you then!