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Bronx LGBTQ Community Services Center organizers vow to carry banner




Fledgling group, which has recently launched to take place of defunt Bronx Pride Center, needs to raise $2,000 with only weeks remaining until event, slated for July 20 in Crotona Park. 	Appolonia Cruz (center) hosts Bronx Pride 2011. COURTESY OF APPOLONIA CRUZ

Appolonia Cruz (center) hosts Bronx Pride 2011.

The organizers of the newly established Bronx LGBTQ Community Services Center are determined to hold a gay and lesbian “pride” event, but they have less than three weeks to raise more than $2,000 to pay for the permit.

“We’re reaching out to everyone,” said Peter Frank, the Bronx LGBTQ Center secretary, who said the group is dependant on sponsors and registration fees to foot the bill for the Bronx LGBTQ Pride and Health Fair, which is planned for July 20 in Crotona Park.

The realization that funds were short came weeks after Frank applied to the city Parks Department for an events permit.

When he paid the $25 application fee, he said, he saw a list of related fees on the Parks Department website but didn’t understand until weeks later that the whole shebang could cost up to $2,500.

With only a few hundred bucks in the jar, the organization will need other groups to pitch in to help fill the gap. The registration fee starts at $50 for nonprofit groups.

Twenty performers and 10 organizations have expressed interest in participating, Frank said, but only two groups paid the registration fee.

The best-knownact expected at the event, singer and Bronx product Adam Barta, offered to perform for free.

“I’m happy to donate my time and my performance to make that happen,” Barta said, adding that he’s not surprised by the new group’s challenges.

 “I think there’s inevitably going to be some rocky bumps in the road for them,” he added. “But I think that they’ve got the right core of people.”

Almost every year for two decades, the rainbow flag waved during a major summer pride event in the borough.

The Bronx Pride Center, which started organizing the gay pride marches and fesitvals in 1997, shut down weeks before last year’s event as its former executive director, Lisa Winters, was embroiled in an embezzlement scandal.

Frank and Appolonia Cruz, a professional drag queen who served as the event’s longtime hostess, stepped in to organize last year’s installment, but Frank said the permit had already been secured.

“In two weeks, we had a miracle,” said Cruz, adding that this year’s event is “going to be another success.”

With the now-defunct Pride Center mired in so much negativity, Cruz said it has been hard to set the record straight and make people understand that this is a brand new organization, one that is starting out with a clean slate.

“Members from my own community were telling me that I was wasting my time,” Cruz said.

“Some people were telling me they thought it was the same organization. I said ‘No, this is completely new.’ It has absolutely nothing to do with the old organization.”


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