Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Equality Virginia Board of Directors has made the unanimous decision to cancel the 17th Annual Commonwealth Dinner, which was planned for Saturday, March 28, 2020. We place paramount importance on the safety and well-being of our staff, guests, and volunteers, and it is this commitment that informed the decision to take this proactive measure.
For weeks, Equality Virginia has been closely monitoring the situation around the spread of the pandemic very closely. We have been working closely with the venue to ensure that additional safety measures were in place, and that a virtual streaming option would be available for guests unable to attend in-person. Despite our best efforts, the two announcements that were made yesterday required us to completely reevaluate the prudence of moving forward.
Richmond City Mayor Levar Stoney issued a statement urging the cancellation of large Richmond-based events, and Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth. As the virus continues to spread in Virginia, both offices have encouraged adherence to the Center for Disease Control’s precautions, including social distancing.
The decision to cancel this special event, rather than postpone it, was a challenging one to make. Due to a variety of extenuating circumstances outside of our control, the only option left to us was cancellation. Please rest assured that we are already brainstorming creative alternatives to ensure that we are still able to collectively celebrate our many historic successes this year.
As you know, the funds raised at the Commonwealth Dinner significantly contribute to Equality Virginia’s yearly budget. The programs and resources we provide to the community, not to mention our general operating costs, rely heavily on the success of this very special event. It is our sincere hope that you will consider your purchase in support of the Commonwealth Dinner to be a fully tax-deductible contribution to support EV’s ongoing work.
We are at an exciting, pivotal place as an organization – one which requires us to focus on the timely and seamless implementation of the pro-LGBTQ legislation that was passed at the General Assembly this session. Ensuring not just legal, but full, lived equality for LGBTQ Virginians and their families will not happen overnight, and your support will ensure that we can continue to meet the new and growing needs facing the community. In the event that you are in need of a refund, please click here so that we can begin processing your request.
We deeply empathize and share the disappointment our community will feel regarding this decision, especially our OUTstanding Virginians whose unique contributions to LGBTQ equality would have been celebrated at the Commonwealth Dinner. We honor their passion, dedication, and accomplishments which together help to build a stronger, more vibrant LGBTQ community in the Commonwealth.
Thank you for your understanding, your commitment, and your support during this challenging time. Our work here at Equality Virginia certainly continues and we remain focused on our mission which unites us all. Please stay safe and well – we look forward to being together again as a community soon.