Ennis Wells 0:00
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Hello, and welcome to WKNC's public affairs program- Eye on the Triangle. Eye on the Triangle is your source for local news reviews and interviews. My name is Ennis Wells. And today in honor of Pride Month, I'm joined by the interim director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, Kori Hennessy. We're going to be discussing the upcoming Raleigh pride, also known as Out! with an exclamation mark, the center itself, and why these events and services are so important to have.
Kori, I know the center has been very busy of late. So I thank you very much for joining me today.
Kori Hennessey 1:19
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.
Ennis Wells 1:22
My first question is, how is your pride month in so far?
Kori Hennessey 1:27
Very busy. Very, very busy. The start of it was I think I went to five different events. But I mean, it is. It's always busy. Every June is busy, but it was it was pretty exciting. It's pretty exciting to kind of see the different things that are happening throughout Wake County, especially nice.
Ennis Wells 1:51
So can you tell me a little bit about yourself? And how you ended up with the LGBT Center of Raleigh?
Kori Hennessey 1:58
So I, let's see, I've been in North Carolina since 2011. I'm originally from the Midwest, Indiana, in particular. Great place. That said was sarcasm. But yeah, I mean, once I got to North Carolina, you know, I was in a completely different part of my life. And as I was kind of in here, meeting new people try new things different, you know, doing different things. I started just kind of learning a little bit more about myself. And just kind of accepting who I am. So I actually started off as a volunteer with the center in 2017. Yes.
So and then I, you know, honestly, I quickly realized once they had an opening for a position, I was like, this is a place that I would like to be and I want to be able to grow and learn more just about me, myself and my community, and do more for my community. So I was the office manager for a few years. And then most recently, I was the director of education and programs for a number of years. And yeah, now I'm in this interim executive director role. But it's great to just kind of see the changes that I've made personally and that the center's made over the last six or so years. That's awesome.
Ennis Wells 3:39
So it was a service that was there for you. And then now you're giving back to it.
Kori Hennessey 3:44
Ennis Wells 3:45
And six years?
Kori Hennessey 3:47
Yeah, yeah, it'll be. Well, if you don't come my volunteer experience, it'd be officially six years on August 1, so.
Ennis Wells 3:56
Okay, so according to your website, outraleighpride.com This will be the 11th year of raleigh pride. Congratulations.
Kori Hennessey 4:04
Ennis Wells 4:05
And this year, it's going to be held June 24, on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, from 11am to 6pm. I wanted to ask about the significance of this event being called out.
Kori Hennessey 4:18
Yeah, no, that's a really good question. Yeah, there's the so I think that the significance is for a long time that was just called out Raleigh and the last couple of years we've actually added the word pride onto it. And then the the significance is, you know, having a out and proud Raleigh presence.
But adding that word pride on I think was a really important moment for us because one it signified that this is a pride event. It's a you know, pride celebration. But also, you know, this is something that we want to make sure that that can be Everybody knows like, we're here. And we are not just celebrated in the community. But, you know, there's a lot of things that we want to do to continue making Raleigh an out and prideful area. And so I think that, you know, adding that that word pride on to it and and still continuing with the out Raleigh just really kind of encompasses everything that we've been trying to accomplish.
Ennis Wells 5:29
Nice. I know it's been maybe a tough year politically, sometimes. So it's good to still have this celebration event and to be proud. Yeah. What can someone expect if they show up at this year's out?
Kori Hennessey 5:46
Well, so for anybody who has never been to the festival, it is a big, big festival. Unfortunately, we don't have a, you know, big parade, like a lot of other bigger cities or other places have. But, you know, because we don't have a parade, we make sure that we try to amplify everything else that we're doing. So you know, it's going to be all available straight. And the side streets is going to be filled with vendors of different organizations, different agencies, small small businesses, small local artists, just really trying to cover you know, a variety of different things that people can come and see and experience while also getting resources and purchasing and supporting an artists. So that is, I think, kind of the highlight, of course, we have our stages, we actually have two stages this year. So we have our pride stage, which is going to be at the end by Morgan Street. And our headliner this year is Frenchy. Davis, which are pretty excited about really glad that she's going to be spending some time with us.
But we're also going to have some other local bands, and some DJs and other artists celebrating and joining us. In then we have a smaller stage, which we're going to be highlighting some youth centered bands and performers and some other different activities and such. So some really good things there. A couple of other areas that we have, we have a low sensory zone, we have a sober space, this year, brand new we are we have a wellness pavilion, which is going to focus on kind of all things health and wellness. So we're going to be offering a couple of services and different things to the community, and resources. So quite a few different things happening. It's definitely going to be a busy fun day.
But you know, just again, kind of celebrating pride and celebrating who we are.
Ennis Wells 8:04
I'm sure everyone at WKNC will be very excited for those music, local bands.
And are there any, like vendors or activities that you're particularly excited about?
Kori Hennessey 8:17
Well, that's a good question. I mean, honestly, I am excited to see the our kids and teens area kind of activated in a way in a slightly more amplified way than I think we have before. With like the stages and bringing in some of the youth bands. I'm excited for the wellness pavilion because the center has just been trying to do more around health and wellness and provide more for the community. And there are gonna be some therapy dogs in the last century zone for a little while. So I probably will go and, and enjoy that plays. Yes, it's I think it's necessary, and I'm very excited. I love dogs. And it's just, it's just gonna be a good part. So
Ennis Wells 9:12
I read it was called The Kid Zone.
Kori Hennessey 9:15
Yes. Yeah. The Kid Zone.
Ennis Wells 9:16
Awesome. And I think you mentioned stuff about like, the drink free area. And diversity. Of course, have there been efforts to make sure that this is embracing, like all types of diversity with different cultures and people of color and accessibility stuff.
Kori Hennessey 9:35
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And the reason why one of the reasons why we've kept it on Fayetteville Street is because it's just more accessible for folks in general, for anybody who wants to visit and wants to come. You know, it's it's harder to find areas in Raleigh that will keep it accessible for people that may be, you know, differently abled. Also, just being close
to bus station is really important close to the train station is really important to us. So all positives from that front to make sure that people can come in enjoy it. And not necessarily it's free to, you know, you don't have to pay anything to just enjoy the day. And we are highlighting artists of color. And, you know, just people of different backgrounds for some of our artists and performers as well.
Ennis Wells 10:28
How has planning been overall?
Kori Hennessey 10:33
It's stressful every year. I mean, I've been I've been part of it for six years, and I think it's just every year is something something always comes up. But honestly, you know, it always turns out to be great. as stressful as it is to plan such a big event.
And because we are a small staff, luckily, we have, we have some really dedicated volunteers.
Ennis Wells 10:57
Would you say it's easier to plan every year? Or is it like scaling up?
Kori Hennessey 11:03
Yeah, I think it scales up every year. Yeah, last year was massive, just because it was the first year back after COVID. This year, you know, we're really trying to be intentional about some of the different things that we're doing so.
Ennis Wells 11:17
And so this event, in addition to being a celebration, and raising awareness, I read that is also a way for the center to raise funds for itself and its programs.
Kori Hennessey 11:27
Yeah, so this is I mean, yeah, her biggest fundraiser our biggest event, you know, with the sponsorships that a lot of businesses and companies bring in. And the donations that we received during the festival is a way that we are able to sustain the different things that we do throughout the year with the center.
It is not our only form of you know, sustaining, sustaining the center. But you know, it is a really important part of what we do. Because our programs we offer throughout the entire year. And a lot of those programs are, you know, community building, peer support based, getting helping people navigate different things like finding medical care, finding mental health resources, helping with name changes, helping with any sort of family support, you name it. So we do quite a bit throughout the entire year. So this, this event is really important for, you know, just kind of sharing what we do, but also, you know, sustaining what we do,
Ennis Wells 12:42
also just having that community space, I believe.
Kori Hennessey 12:45
Absolutely, yes, yes.
Ennis Wells 12:48
So, thank you so much. How can people find more information about your organization and out
Kori Hennessey 12:56
so you can go to our we have do you have a separate website for outright pride and I think you said it earlier is out Raleigh pride.org. Or you can go to our website, which is the LG or excuse me, LGBT center of raleigh.com.
You can follow us on social media, we have Instagram and Facebook pages. One day we will have TikTok I know it's much of everything.
That is not my forte. But yeah, those are those are some ways that you can learn a little bit more about what we do.
Ennis Wells 13:33
Okay, thank you so much for speaking with me today, Kori. And again, Raleigh pride, aka out will be happening Saturday, June 24, on Fayetteville Street from 11am to 6pm. You can find out more information on out Raleigh pride.com, or the Center's website, LGBT center of raleigh.com.
and to those of you listening from other parts of the triangle, I didn't forget about you, during Pride put on by the LGBTQ center of Durham will be happening on Saturday, September 23. You can find out more information on LGBTQ center of durham.org.
And either way, regardless of your location, and whether you make it out to these events are not remember that these centers have year round programs that are there to help you. From health and wellness services to family and youth counseling or community programs. These centers are a great resource to have here in the triangle.
Thank you all for listening to this episode of Eye on the Triangle WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1 Raleigh's public affairs program. You can listen back to this episode or past episodes on wknc.org/podcast. music for this episode is titled Noah Stark and was made available by the artists Krakatoa through a Creative Commons license. Check out wknc.org/schedule To catch the next episode of Eye on the Triangle live. And I wish you all a great pride month. Thank you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai