SAN ANTONIO - Pride Center San Antonio has the keys and is ready to move into its new, open walk-in center.
The new location, at 1303 McCullough Ave., is the result of a partnership with Methodist Healthcare System.
The new office space is inside the Methodist Professional Building across from Crockett Park, right in the heart of the LGBTQ+ business district near the Main Strip.
“There are many businesses as well as restaurants, and people that live in the area that identify in the community. So it was really a prime space for us to be able to take advantage of," said Robert Salcido, volunteer executive director of the Pride Center.
The Center will serve as a community hub, offering resources and programs, and continuing to connect people to other LGBTQ+ services, building awareness and strengthening relationships to address urgent community needs.
"Having our own space now, we'll be able to open up with consistent hours, so somebody can just walk in where it's not an appointment. Somebody can just drop by and either use computers, reserve a space to use for meetings,” Salcido said.
Salcido plans to expand the center’s support groups, offer computer and job services, and offer referrals for health care and other LGBTQ-serving organizations.
“We plan to partner with many of our current existing relationships with organizations to have them come in and either hold their meetings or invite their members come out to join us,” Salcido said.
The Pride Center has been raising money for the new space for years, through events like the annual Emerald Ball.
"We created it because we wanted to bring awareness to the LGBT community center. We wanted to raise money for the LGBT community center," said Julian P. Ledezma, Pride Center board member, local photographer, and creator of the Emerald Ball.
Ledezma said the ball raises about $5,000 annually. The event will take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.
“We have aerialists, we have singers, we have rappers, we have top drag queen performers," Ledezma said. “They're all local performers.”
In the beginning, art was the driving force behind the Emerald Ball.
"I paid everyone with a photo shoot. So it literally was produced by my art,” Ledezma said. “And to this day, people line up to perform in the Emerald Ball because they want that free photo shoot."
The staff who runs the ball is comprised of volunteers – just like the staff that runs the Pride Center. And they have a full plate of projects right now.
“We're part of the Mayor's housing task force,” Salcido said, “Metro Health's initiative when it comes to equity and health.... So there's a lot of different city projects that we're working on as a community and we look to expand upon that as much as we can, to enhance not only the LGBT community in San Antonio, but San Antonio as a whole."
Salcido said he signed a 3-year lease for the new location, effective this January. A grand opening will be held on March 25, in conjunction with the Pride Center’s annual Easter event across the street at Crockett Park. He said office hours will begin in early April.
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