Bernie Delia and Ryan Bos backstage at the 2014 Capital Pride Festival — Photo by Randy Shulman
Capital Pride Alliance has pledged to donate $1,000 to Rainbow History Project to help the organization preserve recordings of the “Friends” radio show, one of the earliest and longest-running gay-themed radio shows in the country and a part of D.C.’s LGBT history.
“Friends” aired from 1973 to 1982 and documented life for LGBT people in D.C., political news, major LGBT events in the District, and held interviews with gay figures ranging from Frank Kameny to John Waters.
“Capital Pride is dedicated to D.C.’s LGBTA community and that includes our community’s history,” Bernie Delia, president of the Board of Directors of the Capital Pride Alliance, said in a statement. “So much documentation of our history has been lost due to stigma and bigotry. We need to make every effort to preserve what has been collected so that future generations will know the full story of the LGBTA experience and the fight for equality. Capital Pride is honored to be part of that effort.”
“‘Friends’ played a vital role in the early days of LGBTA visibility in D.C.,” added Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance. “It would be a great loss to our community if these recordings are not preserved. We hope that our pledge will encourage other organizations and individuals in the D.C. LGBTA community to contribute and ensure that this part of our history is not lost forever.”
The donation to Rainbow History Project will be the first under a new Capital Pride grant program that will be launched at Capital Pride’s “Holiday Heatwave” event, which marks the final event in the 40th anniversary celebration of Pride in the Nation’s Capital. The Capital Pride grant program will be used to help local organizations carry out specific programs or host special events that benefit the area’s LGBT community.
Vincent Slatt, a volunteer who has been working on the “Friends” preservation project, says the organization is about halfway done with its fundraising and ready to start recruiting volunteers to help transfer, label, categorize and organize the recordings. The donation from Capital Pride Alliance is particularly welcome.
“To see that other groups are concerned about preserving our history validates the work that our volunteers do in their free time,” Slatt says. “Our history is important to us. When we see that other organizations also care about our history, it’s nice. It helps us to know we’re doing the right thing.”
Capital Pride’s “Holiday Heatwave” extravaganza and the launch of the Capital Pride grant program will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Human Rights Campaign building, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. For more information, visit capitalpride.org or facebook.com/CapitalPrideDC.