Christopher Street West (CSW), the 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade, is setting a bold intention: to make this year’s LA Pride experience more personal via the official 2018 campaign theme – #JUSTBE.

“Everyone experiences Pride a little bit differently – and we wouldn’t want it any other way because that’s precisely what makes our community tick,” says Shayne Thomas, CSW Board Member and Marketing and Communications Lead. “#JUSTBE is a deeply personal invitation for self-expression that, we hope, will empower members of the LGBTQ+ community – as well as our very important straight allies – to embrace, embody, and express what Pride truly means to them in the rawest, most authentic ways possible.”

To bring #JUSTBE to life, the CSW Marketing Committee tapped into a somewhat unexpected source of inspiration: real-life moments from past LA Pride celebrations. “One day we were just looking through a bunch of photos from past years, and it quickly became clear that there was an incredible story right there in front of our eyes, one that captured the truest spirit of Pride in all its beautiful, vibrant, and ever-so-colorful simplicity,” continues Thomas.

People who see themselves in a #JUSTBE campaign moment are encouraged to reach out to CSW at intheknow@lapride.org to share their LA Pride story for the soon-to-launch LA Pride Blog.

The #JUSTBE campaign, designed by Michael Harari, will start rolling out today on the newly revamped LA Pride website and across LA Pride’s social media channels. A social campaign inviting people to be a part of the #JUSTBE movement is in the works as well.
      
CSW sees #JUSTBE as more than just a theme. It’s a bigger story that will permeate every element of this year’s Pride festivities – from the Festival to the Parade (returning to its home on Santa Monica Boulevard this year) to the many week-long community events that CSW is busy planning. These events bring hundreds of thousands of people to the streets and businesses of West Hollywood – and beyond – to celebrate the heritage and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and its unquestionable impact on contemporary culture and society.

A little over a year ago, the CSW Board of Directors penned a new mission statement:

Our mission is to create safe and inclusive spaces for self-expression, inspire an authentic sense of activism in the continued fight for equality, and celebrate the unique heritage and diverse cultures of Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

CSW developed a core set of values as part of this to drive the mission forward: BE AWARE, BE INSPIRED, BE UNITED, BE MINDFUL, BE TRUE. #JUSTBE is a perfect extension of that strategy.

“For us this year, It was important to tap into our values and remind the LGBTQ+ community that our sole objective, as a Board, is to ensure they have the most amazing LA Pride experience possible,” says Chris Classen, CSW Board President. “LA Pride isn’t LA Pride without the marvelous people who make up our uniquely diverse community. #JUSTBE is a testament to that.”

LA Pride Festival 2018 will take place June 9-10.