The local chapter of Gay for Good is hosting a barbecue in Crown Mountain Park on July 13 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. to celebrate its one-year anniversary.
All are welcome and encouraged to join in the party, says Steve Mills, the group’s co-founder and co-leader. Gay for Good has held 10 events in the past 12 months and has monthly activities planned from now through January.
“The nonprofit, which is the only rural chapter of the national Gay For Good organization, aims to energize and mobilize the LGBTQ+ community to interact with the greater Roaring Fork Valley community by volunteering time to various social welfare and environmental service projects,” according to a press release announcing Saturday’s event.
A Pride Parade held during Carbondale’s First Friday in May saw a huge turnout and was one of the most successful events in the group’s first year in the valley.
“That was huge and I get emotional thinking about it,” Mills says, noting it was initially conceived at the behest of the school’s gender sexuality alliance.
“It was more successful than we even thought it would be. People were coming out of restaurants, wanted to be part of the parade. It was super emotional for everyone involved,” he recalls.
Also notable during the inaugural year were projects with partners such as Basalt High School, Aspen Gay Ski Week, the Independence Pass Foundation, the town of Carbondale and others which saw the collection of 170 pounds of trash, repair of a riparian dam and landscaping of a peace garden created by a student as a bully-free zone.
A stated goal for the coming year is doing more outreach to the Latino community, says Mills. “We haven’t had a lot of Latino participation but we know there’s a large community in the valley. It’s one of those head scratchers.”
Mills and the board extend a special invitation to the Latino community to take part in the July 13 event in Crown Mountain Park. Also encouraged to participate are families and individuals of all ages and persuasions.
“Any civil rights work, any progress we’ve made in this country is because allies have come out and helped the cause,” according to Mills. He uses as an example “African American civil rights. If Caucasians didn’t come out (in support) where would be today?”
In its second year, Gay for Good hopes to expand into Garfield County, including Silt, New Castle, Rifle and Parachute. Its aspiration remains to connect people in what is seen as a divided atmosphere.
“There’s so much negativity in the world these days. We wanted to bring people together in a very divided country. What can we do in our own valley that’s giving back during a turbulent time?” according to Mills.
For more information about Gay for Good or to RSVP for the July 13 barbecue, go to gayforgood.org/rockymountains.