Pride Festivals provide a vital point of connection between the local LGBTQIA+ community and local organizations and businesses. In keeping that spirit alive, our Community Spotlight feature will provide a deeper look at these organizations and the important work they do in our communities.
These organizations will be a part of our 2022 Pride festivities as well-- so be sure to learn more and plan to see them at our Pride festival next year!
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.
I asked Ronald North, Jr., AFSP Virginia Chapter LGBTQ Ambassador, to give us a closer look at the work they are doing in our community.
Tell us about your organization!
"Our mission is to stop suicide and bring hope to those affected by suicide."
How did you personally get involved in this work?
"I got involved after my best friend and partner Adam Bryce Cowherd gave up his battle with with depression and anxiety in August 2019."
What's your favorite part of Pride Festivals? Favorite memory or performance, etc?
"My favorite part of Pride is everyone coming together and having fun without judgement. I will never forget my first Pride Event was with Adam in Charlottesville when they first started. It was small in Emancipation Park but a great day and memory with Adam that will live forever in my heart."
Ron at his first Pride event, in Charlottesville, VA.
"I take up space being a voice for mental health awareness and suicide prevention especially in the LGBTQ Community. Together with AFSP I am able to advocate educate and help stop the stigma and taboo that surrounds this leading cause of death."
Why did your organization want to be a part of Staunton Pride? What is most important for the LGBTQIA+ community to know about your work or resources?
"We know that the suicide rate is higher in the lqbtq community and wanted to let people know that they are not alone. We also offer free in person or virtual programs to community groups and businesses including our new LGBTQ version of Talk Saves, an intro into the scope of the problem. We also offer numerous resources that can also be found online at afsp.org/lgbtq. We also wanted to invite people to take part in our community Out of the Darkness Walk on October 16th in Gypsy Hill Park from 9am to 4 pm. You can register for free at afsp.org/gsv."
You can join Staunton Pride's team for the Greater Shenandoah Valley Out of the Darkness Walk, on October 16th in Gypsy Hill Park. To donate or to join our team -- go to Staunton Pride's team page.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Virginia Chapter - Facebook page
Shenandoah Valley Out of the Darkness Walk - Facebook page