Baltimore Pride kicks off this week with a number of festivities.

Pride has always been about more than just the parade and block party, though, and this year is no different: A job fair, educational panels about the state’s LGBTQIA+ history and an inaugural 5K are all on the docket put on by the Pride Center of Maryland.

The center’s organizers host programming and events that elevate the queer community everyday, but Pride is their Super Bowl. This is the second time the celebrations will take place over a week rather than just a weekend, a move they made last year because they felt people needed more time to reunite after being apart during the pandemic.

This year’s Pride theme is a call to unite in action and protection. “If it’s ‘One Love, One Heart, One Pride,’ everyone’s got to feel comfortable there, right?” said senior director Tramour Wilson.

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More spaces for queer people to exist and find support are necessary, organizers said, which is why the team pushed hard to open the new Pride Center on Saint Paul Street after moving from Charles Street. And their work does not stop during the weeklong celebration. There will be case management and harm reduction services on site throughout the year, as well as a new fitness center.

The whole city will be activated. People can spread out and socialize in Druid Hill Park or enjoy the block party in Mount Vernon. The Enoch Pratt Free Library, B&O Railroad museum and other local organizations will also take part: Pratt will have a number of events and the B&O will host the official Friday night Pride celebration.

And, of course, there will be music. Rap and R&B performers Remy Ma and K. Michelle will headline, with the former at Charles Street and North Avenue on Saturday and the latter in Druid Hill Park on Sunday. “We’re still providing some fun and and some outlets because we need it,” said Ursula Franklin, program manager of the Pride Center of Maryland.

But Wilson still wants the country’s third-oldest Pride to be transformational and empowering. “A lot of Prides are parties, but we wanted to make sure that we have things that elevate the communities,” he said.

Imani is an Arts and Culture writer with a background in libraries. She loves to read, hike and brag about her friends.

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