In case you haven’t noticed, the Dark Clouds have a lot of PRIDE. From the LGBTQ PRIDE tifo, to the inaugural Dark Clouds Prideraiser, to the special Pride-themed merch with proceeds going to charity, to the unity shown in the supporters section and on the field, this has been a special year for MNUFC soccer supporters, players and staff.
But as our 2018 Pride efforts come to a close, we thought it would be fitting to revisit our efforts and our pledges to unity and inclusiveness within the section.
The Dark Clouds would like to thank everybody involved in this year’s efforts, and we hope that you’ll join in supporting our pledge to make our supporters an example of what true inclusivity and unity can look like.
MNUFC Pride Night Tifo
The Dark Clouds have a long history of showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community. But this year was something special. The cross-sg tifo committee, led by David Martin and Dan Skaarup, drew up a design that showcased our pride for the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, I had a chance to speak with David Martin about the tifo.
Tell me about the vision behind the tifo. What inspired the design?
“When we set out to create the Pride tifo, we had one goal in mind; we wanted it to be about more than just the rainbow. The rainbow imagery is great, but when you have a safe space to spread a message, we felt like the rainbow was almost a cop-out. We wanted to avoid the feeling of ‘saying it without actually saying it.’”
Obviously you did end up featuring something beyond just a rainbow, how did you decide on that final design?
“We wanted to include actual LGBT people in the depiction. We included members of our local LGBT community in the ideation of the design–and in the approval of the artwork—to ensure we had a lot of voices in the mix.”
“One of the themes they wanted to emphasize was diversity within their own community. There are a lot of dimensions of that diversity, but racial diversity is one that is easy to visually depict—so we settled on an interracial couple for the design.”
What about the text itself, ‘Pride Night Every Night’?
“The copy on the banner, ‘Pride Night Every Night,’ was intended to send a message. When a group creates a Pride night, no matter how well-intentioned, the flip side is the suggestion that rest of the time (aside from that night) doesn’t matter. We wanted to make very clear that every day and every night is a chance for all people to feel safe and welcome throughout our communities—no matter whom they love.”
Were you happy with how it turned out?
“In the end, we are very proud of how well it was executed and glad of the generally positive reception the tifo had. Hopefully at least a few people saw this design, its scale and its message, and believed there was a world which had their back and would love them unconditionally. They deserve no less.”
Dark Clouds Prideraiser
One of the more exciting things about the Pride efforts for the Dark Clouds this year has been the inaugural Prideraiser. Prideraiser, for those who don’t know, is a “coalition of independent soccer supporters that raise money for local LGBTQ charities every June.”
Prideraiser essentially helps to host and share these LGBTQ-focused fundraising campaigns, while groups like the Dark Clouds and other North American soccer supporters groups pick the charities that receive the donations.
The Dark Clouds Prideraiser efforts were lead by Maggi Heyer-Erlandson–Dark Cloud and matchday maestro.
“I was honored to help organize Dark Clouds first ever Prideraiser campaign this year. The support that we received from around the group was incredible. While we may not have scored as many goals as we would have liked, the funds we raised will go a long way towards helping LGBTQ youth in our community.”
“Also shameless plug: If you are looking for more ways to support Avenues, Dark Clouds Silver Lining will be planning an action day at their facility this fall.”
The fundraiser premise was this: for every goal scored by MNUFC during the month of June, people who pledged money to the Prideraiser would donate a set amount of money.
The results were a huge success–with 43 pledges equaling $328.95 per goal scored.
Unfortunately, MNUFC didn’t share in that success. They only scored four goals in the month of June. That made for a total pledged amount of $1315.80.
But, perhaps in penance for not living up to their end of the goal-scoring bargain, MNUFC and Bell Bank graciously donated an additional $1000 dollars to the campaign.
The pledges made by individual members and allies, as well as the donation from Bell Bank and MNUFC are headed straight to Avenues for Homeless Youth.
Avenues for Homeless Youth “provides emergency shelter, short-term housing and supportive services for homeless youth in a safe and nurturing environment.”
But the funds donated by our Prideraiser efforts specifically go toward supporting LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.
Dark Clouds Pride Merch Fundraising
Pride merchandise is only as good as the proceeds given to charity. And when it comes to making good on that statement, the Dark Clouds Merch Team is as good as gold.
The Dark Clouds merch team, led by Jim Crist, Sam Solberg, and a hard working ensemble of volunteers–including Kevin Joseph who provided two great designs–set out to raise money for charity.
The results? Well, they speak for themselves.
While we expect Pride merch sales to continue coming in, as it stands now, the Dark Clouds have raised $2284.20 through merch sales for Avenues for Homeless Youth.
Dark Clouds Pride Month Efforts: Looking Forward
Through the above efforts, the Dark Clouds and friends have pledged and raised close to $4500 for at-risk LGBTQ youth through Avenues for Homeless Youth in 2018.
But that money doesn’t show the real story. The real story, and something we’re all immensely proud of, is that we came together to show the LGBTQ community that we’re here for them and that we’re ready to step up and be counted as allies.
Congratulations to everybody who played a part in this year’s pride events. We hope you’ll join us in continuing to celebrate our LGBTQ members, friends and allies by practicing inclusivity, unity and solidarity in your daily lives.