On Thursday the Cleveland Cavaliers and Cleveland Monsters announced they were celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and their allies with back-to-back Pride Nights this upcoming weekend at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. All weekend long, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse’s massive exterior curtain wall will be lit with the colorful shades of the rainbow in recognition of the LGBTQ+ community.
As an organization, we strive to be present and authentically engaged in all of our local communities, and our annual Pride Night is a time where we can honor the voices, hard work and accomplishments of the LBGTQ+ community,” said Kevin Clayton, Cleveland Cavaliers VP Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement. “Though a lot of hard work goes into making our Pride Nights possible, this is about more than just one night. We are very proud to work alongside such wonderful LGBTQ+ partners to continue to move the needle towards inclusivity for everyone.”
The celebration begins with the Monsters matchup on Friday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. against the Rochester Americans. This will be the second Pride Night hosted by the Monsters. The Monsters and Americans will use commemorative Pride pucks during warmups on Friday which will then be available to purchase through the DASH auction platform.
Proceeds from online purchases of a specialty Pride puck will benefit the Community AIDS Network/Akron Pride Initiative (CANAPI), a locally-based non-profit organization that serves and promotes the well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning community and persons at risk and/or affected by HIV through education, support services, quality housing and advocacy.
Both teams will also both sport specialty Pride Tape on their hockey sticks during the game in support of the cause with several Monsters hockey sticks available to bid on through DASH as well. Pride Tape is a global, grassroots community-based movement that was created to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in the sport, and quickly grew to become a world-recognized symbol for inclusion in hockey.
Finally, proceeds from the in-game 50/50 raffle will benefit LGBT+ Center Lake CountyGBT+ Center Lake County, whose mission is to foster a safe place for the LGBTQ+ community in Lake County through advocacy, compassion, education and services. There will also be special in-game Pride Stick Recognitions will recognize members from Beyond Identities Community Center, CANAPI and LGBT+ Center Lake County as well.
The Cleveland Monsters and Cleveland Cavaliers organizations will celebrate and embrace the local LGBTQ+ community this weekend.
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, will host their Pride Night on Saturday, January 22nd at 8:00 p.m. vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. This will be the third Pride Night hosted by the Cavaliers. During the game, the Cavaliers will recognize Gio Santiago as the community “DIFF Maker” of the game. Santiago's passion is to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those that are transgender, feel empowered and supported. Whether through policy work or creating programs such as the LGBTQ Youth Sports League or his personal nonprofit META Center Inc, Santiago prioritizes making a difference so that everyone can live a safe and authentic life.
Proceeds from Saturday's in-game 50/50 raffle will benefit Pride in the CLE, presented by the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, with the mission to enrich the lives of the diverse LGBTQ+ community through advocacy, support, education and celebration. There will also be a special halftime performance from the Cavs PowerHouse Dance Team that will feature local Drag personalities Kardi Redd Diamond, Joliee Blak and Dakota Cox. Additionally, fans in attendance can stop by informational tables from Hot Pockets, LGBTQ Center of Greater Cleveland, Plexus and Equitable Advisors.
Finally, the Cleveland Charge, the NBA G League affiliate of the Cavaliers, hosted their pride night on Tuesday, January 11 when they took on the Windy City Bulls. The Charge delivered a 103-94 victory on the court, while off the court, members from the local LGBTQ+ community were given the opportunity to promote their programs and resources throughout the game. Charge players also donned Pride shooting shirts, which were auctioned off to support local LGBTQ+ non-profits.
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