UK Black Pride organisers urge greater investment and community cooperation
"We hope this will be a time for open reflection and honest discussion"
Roxanne Anderson/UK Black Pride
Organisers of UK Black Pride have called for greater investment and cooperation with Pride In London following a report from PIL's Community Advisory Board.
The report, released last week, criticised Pride In London for failing to engage with BAME voices in the LGBT community and to adequately support UKBP, and alleged that the relationship between PIL and UKBP has "broken down irretrievably", claims which were later denied by a Pride In London spokesperson.
In a press release issued today, UKBP organisers said: "UK Black Pride welcomes the independent report of Pride In London’s Community Advisory Board as we recognise much of what it has outlined.
"While Pride in London and UK Black Pride have met to discuss the logistics of our events, there has been a systemic failure in Pride In London to agree to join facilitated meetings to discuss ways of working together to address structural problems of inequality and exclusion.
"UK Black Pride has seen textbook dynamics of oppression play out in an unequal relationship with Pride In London. The most egregious impact has been to leave UK Black Pride’s volunteers feeling isolated and exposed, especially on the day of the event itself, on an annual basis, while Pride In London has reaped plaudits for its partnership with UK Black Pride."
Organisers also criticised Greater London Authority and "multinational companies" who support Pride events across the country yet fail to do the same for UK Black Pride.
DIVA and OutNewsGlobal publisher Linda Riley, who alongside Stonewall and BNP Paribas sponsored this year's UK Black Pride, echoed those concerns. "DIVA are proud to support all Pride events and we are particularly proud of our investment in UK Black Pride. As part of that investment, we produced the programme for UK Black Pride, and although our team are extremely experienced in sales, we were very disappointed with the lack of support from the corporate community for UK Black Pride," she said.
Looking to the future, UK Black Pride organisers said: "If the partnership between a community-backed UK Black Pride and a commercially-driven Pride In London is to survive then significant, systemic change is needed. We cannot continue to operate an unequal partnership.
"UK Black Pride wants a partnership that shares our values and our belief that Pride events must empower and include the communities that are most excluded from LGBT and wider society.
"We hope this will be a time for open reflection, honest discussion, and a change in direction from lip-service to cooperation."
Commenting on today’s press release from UK Black Pride, a spokesperson for LGBT+ Pride in London said: “Like UK Black Pride, Pride In London is run by volunteers, so we both understand how important it is to obtain feedback from the communities we seek to represent and serve. Pride In London is 100% committed to being more representative of the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community and are discussing a new structure at both Board and core volunteer team level that we believe will help achieve this. This year over a third of our volunteers are members of the BAME community.
“We are currently studying the Community Advisory Board’s report and are meeting with them next month. Last month we also invited UK Black Pride to meet with us for a de-brief session.
“UK Black Pride is a national event of great importance and Pride In London has been proud to work with them over the last five years, initially facilitating use of Golden Square and latterly in Vauxhall Spring Gardens. We are carefully considering their statement as we want to learn from how things have been done in the past.
“The volunteers that organise Pride in London strive at all times to do their best, and we have always said we want to be an event both run by - and for - the whole LGBT+ community. Where people feel we are not getting it right we will listen, discuss and work our hardest to do better. We clearly need to build some bridges with parts of the community and this will be a key focus for us moving forwards.”
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