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Columbia Inspired

Do You Have Pride?

Jun 16, 2022 09:38PM ● By Anika Mills

We all have experienced loneliness, feeling othered, and not belonging in some way, shape, or form. Inclusion, diversity, and equity have become buzzwords during the pandemic. However, it takes true commitment and focus to make those words effective. Introducing Howard County Pride, an organization that wholeheartedly welcomes everyone. Columbia Inspired Magazine (CIM) talked with Jumel Howard, the president of Howard County Pride, to learn more about how the organization supports the community.

CIM: We are truly excited to be able to share your organization with our community today. Please tell us how you became involved with the Howard County Pride?

Howard: I had just returned to the U.S. and was looking for ways to get involved in the efforts to counteract the rhetoric of the 2016 election season. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I was eager to see how I could support a community that is so often underrepresented and marginalized. From there, I was introduced to Sue Garner, who was the president of PFLAG Columbia-Howard County at the time. She essentially took me under her wing, and now six years later, I am serving as the new president of that very chapter!

CIM:  What support does your organization provide? What are the boundaries in reference to location for who you can and cannot serve, if any?

Howard: Our organization provides advocacy, education, and support services on behalf of and for the LGBTQ+ community in Howard County. While Howard County is our area of focus, there is no limit to who can access our programs and events. All are welcome!

CIM: What is one of the challenges that your organization faced when the pandemic hit and how did the organization navigate as a result?

Howard: Burnout! As an all-volunteer organization, many of our people were pulled in several different directions in an attempt to adjust to the new "normal" of the last two years. As a result, we pulled back on some of our in-person program offerings, took some of the non-essential work off the plates of our volunteers, and started to split duties and roles that used to be the responsibility of one individual and spread it out over working groups of our steering committee. It has been a tremendous group effort, and without the amazing members of PFLAG and our spectacular steering committee, we may not have made it through.

CIM:  What do you want our readers to know about Howard County Pride and how can they support you?

Howard: The best way for you to help is to understand that advocacy starts at home! Be an ally in your household, and it will reach out. We welcome all members of the community, LGBTQ+, and allies, to join our chapter as members, attend our support groups, or give a donation! For more information on ways to get involved or support us, you can visit our websites  at or

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