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St. John’s Pride looks to future after weekend community crisis meeting

Meeting calls for unity in LGBTQ2SI+ community

The local LGBTQ2SI+ community came together over the weekend to figure out the best way to proceed after the implosion of the board of St. John’s Pride.

The board of St. John’s Pride currently has one member after a spate of resignations last month. While some resignations were because of personal matters, others were sparked by an announcement by co-chair Noah Davis-Power that police and sitting Liberal MHAs could face a ban at the 2018 Pride parade.

The dispute was over an apology demanded from the RNC relating to alleged discrimination against the gay community during an investigation carried out at the Village mall in 1993, which saw 34 men charged with public indecency.

Taylor Stocks and Natalie Brunet were facilitators for a community dialogue session held on Sunday at the Benevolent Irish Society.

Stocks says the issues surrounding the apology weren’t discussed as much as expected — rather, 47 members of the community attended to give advice to the incoming board, which will be elected March 25.

“It wasn’t really a conversation we were having broadly as a community at that point. I think it was recognized that that was a particular interest to one board member that other members were kind of caught by surprise by the actions,” Stocks said.

“People were ready to look at Pride and make practical recommendations about how to move forward.”

One recommendation coming out of the meeting is to make Pride more of a facilitator of Pride week events than a sole organizer.

“There’s going to be a very particular focus on what are core Pride events, like the parade and flag raisings,” Stocks said.

“But then an invitation to other community organizations to start to populate the week.”

The recommended change in focus would allow Pride to somewhat delegate to other organizations so one board isn’t stretched thin as it focuses on its mandate of education, advocacy and celebration.

“It’s very difficult for an organization to do all of those things, without burning themselves out,” Stocks said.

“I think that’s a good possible precedent for future years, where Pride becomes a facilitator of other community events, sort of bringing them under the umbrella of Pride.”

A report detailing the discussion, an accompanying online survey and all the recommendations will be released before the election of a new board.

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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