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Sometimes, two halves don’t make a whole. 

Plans for a celebration of Black History Month in Wilton Manors and the Black LGBT community saw organizational problems almost from inception, and a last-minute split between organizations. The result was two under-attended events.

Feb. 5 was The Cookout: A Black History Month Field Day Fundraiser at The Pride Center in Wilton Manors.

At the same time was The Cookout Extravaganza at Joseph C. Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale. Originally, there was supposed to be one event, held at a park in Wilton Manors, with Afro Pride being a beneficiary of funds raised.

Organizers wanted Wilton Elementary Park, but because alcohol isn’t allowed on school property, they looked for other locations. Each space came with obstacles, such as bans on alcohol and amplified music.

The Pride Center was finally chosen, but more problems crept in. Afro Pride pulled out at the last minute, citing transparency issues.

“It came down to a misunderstanding and some things we didn’t want to be a part of,” Afro Pride’s COO Donald Gunder said. “So we decided to step back from it and do our own fundraising. I know it was supposed to be a benefit for us but we just declined.”

Organizers for the event at The Pride Center echoed those comments. Both sides declined to name names on the record.

Divide And Falter

Saturday saw two events, neither living up to the potential that one, united event could have delivered. Afro Pride’s event at Carter Park had music, food and drinks, and several games set up on the lawn for a field day. At 4 p.m. only a handful of people were there and no games were underway.

Over at The Pride Center, a few dozen people showed up. Food was provided by The Pub and drinks provided by LeBoy. Their participation was important as they continue to demonstrate their solidarity with the community after some patrons used hateful, racial slurs. A few tables were set up, there was a DJ, and the city of Wilton Manors issued a proclamation. But there were no games, and no real program to educate the crowd on Black history.

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