Meet Your Board Member - Christopher Brewer
Secretary, Graphic Designer, IT Coordinator, Marketing Committee Chair, Merchandise Coordinator, Adventures with Pride Coordinator
The list could go on, but the list doesn’t matter. What I do for Knox Pride is put my passion into a good cause. Hi, I’m Christopher Brewer, a board member of Knox Pride for 2 years now. I grew up moving around the South and landed back where my family is from, Knoxville, TN. I spent most of my life in Knoxville. At age 20 I went off to college in Boone, NC and came back after to start my career. I never thought of myself doing volunteer work. I did it for scholarships, but nothing I had done sparked my passion.
When I moved back to Knoxville, I met with a friend, the current president of ETEC at the time, Ben Byers. They were losing their graphic designer, and he wanted to know if I could help out every once and awhile. I was excited about the opportunity, as a young designer the idea of getting my work in front of thousands was thrilling. I went to a board meeting to make sure I was understanding and getting information about the events I would be promoting. There was an opportunity for graphic design to be used in many of Pride’s needs. I started going to every meeting and volunteering at all the events. I worked for my first PrideFest in 2015, helping with entertainment. It was a long day starting at 6am and leaving at 10pm. The next day I was exhausted, but there was a sense of pride, no pun intended, that I hadn’t had with my other volunteering work. It wasn’t just getting to see my designs everywhere at PrideFest it was helping the organization do what they needed to do that brought me this joy.
In 2016 I went all in becoming a board member and secretary. I dove in looking at everything ETEC, East Tennessee Equality Council, did and how I could help. After working with many small businesses around Boone and Knoxville, I saw a lot of opportunity for ETEC. I suggested a restructuring of communication and a look at rebranding. Knoxville’s Pride was getting bigger and went by many names. No one knew who ETEC was or all the other events that ETEC did. I did months of research into America's top ten Pride’s and Pride’s around the world and made suggestions around that. One of those was a Name and a Face. Knoxville’s Pride needed to be recognizable and are necessary to be called the same thing by everyone. Going with what everyone already called us and easy to remember we decided on Knox Pride. We relooked at the face, our logo and wanted to bring in this Knoxville Pride. After months of meeting with the board, we had a new logo. I started updating our name everywhere as Knox Pride or Knox Pridefest, in reference just to the festival in the summer we do. Knox Pride does events all year long and the name Knox Pride could help show that.
After moving to Knoxville and getting involved with Knox Pride, I realized how much Knox Pride was missing out on people like me. I am not a big drinker or partier, I am a younger person that has a small group of friends that do things together and doesn’t get out much. But there was a problem with that. I wanted to do things my small friend group didn’t want to, but I knew others would do. I suggested some community events to the board. Adventures with Knox Pride, a non-fundraiser that brings people together to meet and do something everyone is interested in; laser tag, hikes, art museum, food tour, all kinds of things. I teamed up with Jen Green to help get this off the ground.
After working with Knox Pride for 2 years. I ran into a boy at an event. I always made jokes I would never date someone I met at a club because people like me never go out. I was wrong and fit my current partner of a year through Knox Pride.
When people ask me what I do for Knox Pride, I give them a little overview, and they seem surprised that I spend so much time volunteering and helping. Knox Pride to me became my family and helped me get work with my designs, find a partner unexpectedly, and bring joy into my life. That is just what it does for me. The magic is what it does to the people I meet who come up and tell me that they love their shirt, wear it all the time. Or at an Adventures with Pride event talking about how they are glad to meet up and do whatever activity we are at. Everything I do for Knox Pride touches someone's life and brightens their world. I get to help spread the love that allows LGBTQ+ young realized that it will get better, and there is love for them. I keep that young gay boy in mind that is scared and alone and doesn’t yet know what the world has to offer. I do all this for kids like him. Because even though times are better for LGBTQ+, we are always pushing to spread love and acceptance of everyone.
Thank you for reading my story of why I am part of Knox Pride. Please look forward to more stories from our other board members. If this resonated with you, come to a meeting, or just help out at an event. Any little bit helps the whole picture.