On June 28, 1969, few inside the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, realized they were about to change history. But on that night, as had happened on so many nights before, they were persecuted for being different. Only this time, when the police raided, they fought back. The crowd rose up, stood together and demanded equal treatment.
That moment sparked a movement. A groundswell of grassroots activism whose impact is felt to this day. In places like Egypt. In Ferguson. And on the steps of the Supreme Court. Wherever oppression festers, Stonewall inspires and mobilizes the oppressed. It is their blueprint. And rallying cry.
Every year since, Pride is celebrated around the globe on Stonewall’s anniversary. And every five years, one city’s Pride festivities are elevated to WorldPride status in a competitive bidding. Why competitive? Because it attracts more people, media coverage and higher-value sponsorships. In 2014, WorldPride in Toronto generated 80 million media impressions, $719 million in sponsor-related purchases and attracted over two million people, 67% of whom were first-time attendees.
Our client, NYC Pride, wanted to attach the WorldPride designation to its celebration of Stonewall’s 50th anniversary in 2019. Its ideal Manhattan location, coupled with the anniversary’s significance and WorldPride’s designation, would create a perfect storm of size, scale, significance and reach. But how would the small non-profit ensure success…both in terms of winning WorldPride status and having a compelling story for the actual event, one that would attract and engage participants of all kinds as well as sponsors and corporate partnerships?