A decade of pride: Salisbury Pride is looking ahead with new board members

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 7, 2020

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY – The city had its first pride festival 10 years ago, and Salisbury Pride is still going strong.

The organization and its festival celebrate all things LGBTQ. The annual festival is returning in June with eyes on expansion, and the organization has four new board members in the mix.

“Ten years is a great point for any organization to take stock of where they’ve been and where they want to go, build on accomplishment and also begin new paths,” Coffey said.

Salisbury Pride Board Vice President Becky Lane said the new members come from different backgrounds and experiences, and it is special to see people just now getting involved 10 years in.

The new board members are:

• Michael Brooks, who teaches chorus at North Rowan Middle and High schools. Brooks is a native of West Virginia, Musical Director at John Calvin Presbyterian and serves on the board of Lee Street Theatre.

• Katherine Lamb, who is a native of Salisbury and a clinical social worker at the Salisbury VA Medical Center. She has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, a master’s in social work from UNC Charlotte and a master’s of divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary.

• Hunter Scott Safrit, who is the associate director of the Salisbury Symphony and director of the Choral Society. A native of Salisbury, he is a Catawba College graduate and pursuing an master’s in business administration from Appalachian State University.

• Louisa Witten, who handles contract negotiations in the financial services industry for a Fortune 100 company based in Texas. She works remotely from Salisbury. A Louisville, Kentucky, native, she moved to Salisbury two years ago.

The group is not all fun and games. PFLAG Salisbury Rowan awards a scholarship for Salisbury Pride in memory of past board member Scotty Gilbert, and in November the group made a $5,000 donation to Novant Health’s HIV/AIDS Emergency Fund.

The scholarship is $1,000 to support the continuing education of a high school senior. That donation was raised by its “Over the Rainbow: Broadway With a Twist” fundraiser.

In 2020, Pride is looking forward to adding some education programs. Coffey said there has been interest from local organizations in having some LGBTQ educational programs come to them.

This summer, the group is looking for different opportunities to expand the festival.

“I think it’s a tribute to the Salisbury community in general that we’ve been so well received and we have so much support from the community,” Lane said. “It’s not just the residents, it’s the people who come year after year to the festival.”

Lane said her favorite thing about the festival is the sense of joy. Coffey’s is seeing the crowds take over Fisher street.

“People are happy and that’s great to see,” Coffey said.

Lane said the event is a big party.

“In the age we’re living in right now I think one of the biggest things that people need is hope and love,” Lane said.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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