A Pennsylvania-based LGBT Pride organization plans to showcase its town on a national level in a new awareness-raising campaign.
New Hope Celebrates launched “i am new hope” in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. Roger Green, the organization’s vice president, said board members voiced concerns at a meeting following the election about President Donald Trump’s upcoming leadership.
“We sought a way to do something that was unifying and positive, and express the idea that this might be a dark moment,” Green said. “If everybody stays connected and stays positive and increases engagement, all of the positivity will return.”
The campaign includes T-shirts and social-media efforts that display the message “i am new hope.” New Hope Celebrates founder Daniel Brooks noted the unique styling of the campaign phrase.
“If you put it in capital letters, ‘New Hope’ talks specifically about the town itself, and what its meaning is [as well as] the diversity and history,” Brooks said. “And if you look at it the other way without the capital letters, which is the way that our T-shirts read, the people are wearing it as symbols of their ‘new hope’ for the future, which, at this time, is something that everyone can use an injection of and an infusion of.”
Brooks, who also created the organization’s LGBT digital history archive Retro-Scope, noted how the town of New Hope began. Benjamin Parry came to New Hope, which was called Coryell’s Ferry at the time, in the early 1780s and purchased the Hope Flour Mill; the Bucks County Playhouse now occupies this space. A fire eventually destroyed the mill in 1790 but Parry rebuilt it within a year and named it the New Hope Flour Mill. The town changed its name shortly after that.
According to Brooks, this sense of “new hope” the town provides continues into the present day.
“People have often said that when they come here, they come to the town for a renewal,” he said. “People come up from Philadelphia [and] people come from New York City because they want to get away from problems. Go for a relaxing, upbeat visit and they always leave feeling kind of renewed and refreshed and with new hope.”
New Hope Celebrates Creative Director Gordon Pulaski said he wanted to launch i am new hope both as a fundraiser for New Hope Celebrates and as a way to get out the message the town promotes.
“New Hope has a history of the arts and acceptance, going way back to the [1930s] and possibly before that,” Pulaski said. “There’s a place to gather and be yourself. I think this message really starts to resonate.”
The group shot photos of individuals holding “i am new hope” signs during New Hope Celebrates’ Pride Parade, which can be viewed on the campaign’s website.
“People from all walks of life — black, white, gay, straight, etc. — really embraced the message,” Pulaski said. “Everyone truly has been here and experienced the tranquility of New Hope and the history that goes with that. It shows in the photographs. What we want to continue to do is spread this message.”
The group plans to expand this effort by presenting i am new hope at two upcoming conferences. First up is the Original LGBT Expo Sept. 9-10 at the Javitz Center in New York City. The organization will also participate in Interpride’s Annual General Meeting and World Conference in Indianapolis Oct. 5-8.
Green said New Hope is a “magical place” and New Hope Celebrates hopes to showcase that beyond the town’s lines.
“What makes this place so special is the exceptional tolerance of diversity,” Green said. “People can be who they are. They can be one thing by day and another by night but the acceptance and the appreciation of individuals makes this a really spectacular place.” n
For more information, visit iamnewhope.com.