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In 2002, four community leaders (pictured left to right), Carlton "The Duchess" Smith, Kevin Clemons, Dana Owens and Leroy Burgess, took action to create a liberatory space for the Black LGBTQ community in Baltimore.


After being told that their group, comprised of mostly Black people, were being "too loud" at the local Baltimore Pride parade, our founders were finally fed up with feeling othered and out of place within the larger, predominantly white-led "GLBT" movement of the time. A new organization, Baltimore Black Gay Pride, was found.

For many years, this group organized the Baltimore Black Gay Pride celebration, traditionally celebrated in October. Eventually, Baltimore Black Gay Pride joined the International Federation of Black Prides, a global network of Black LGBTQ pride celebrations around the world. The organization was renamed Center for Black Equity-Baltimore, and became an affiliate chapter of the larger national nonprofit, Center for Black Equity.

In 2016, the organization changed its name to Blaq Equity Baltimore and resumed operations as an independent nonprofit. In 2022, Blaq Equity Baltimore celebrated 20 years in operation.

Today, Blaq Equity Baltimore continues to organize Baltimore Blaq Pride and remains connected to a strong global network of Black Pride organizers through the Center for Black Equity. Blaq Equity Baltimore is in the process of revitalizing and modernizing, including building a new time and developing year-long programming, to usher in the next era of championing Black LGBTQIA+ culture, identity, leadership and wellness in the Baltimore region.

four founders of blaq equity baltimore


To foster a sense of belonging and connectedness among the Black LGBTQIA+ community in Baltimore, and to increase our capacity to be mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, sexually, and economically healthy.


Blaq Equity Baltimore envisions a society where all Black LGBTQIA+ people thrive and feel safe, supported, and whole.


Our programs are aligned within three main priority areas for the Black LGBTQIA+ community in Baltimore: arts & culture, health & wellness, and leadership & capacity building.

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