The recent press regarding SF Pride’s finances raises some issues that are rightfully of concern. It is a sign of SF Pride’s importance to the community that so many care so very deeply about the future of this organization whose history spans more than forty years. We started this blog to let the community know how deeply we, the staff, board, and contractors of SF Pride, care about the future of this organization, and how hard we are fighting, day and night, to assure that SF Pride remains the vibrant, strong, and grounded organization that it has been for many, many years.
It is easy to forget in the immediacy of this moment that San Francisco Pride was built across five decades to become the largest gathering of LGBT people in the country — perhaps the continent. SF Pride was born on the first anniversary of Stonewall as an act of solidarity for the queers who fought back against police violence in Greenwich Village, New York. This organization went on to survive Anita Bryant and the Moral Majority. We made it through the Briggs Initiative and the death of Harvey Milk. This organization, like so many others, lost so many to the AIDS epidemic and still we are here to carry on the memory of those that we have lost and to say that the epidemic is still here and that we will continue to fight until there is a cure. We outlasted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Knight Initiative, and I will tell you now that SF Pride will go on to outlast the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 as well. Make no mistake: this organization’s legacy is a feat of historic proportions, one which has seen tough times before and still come through to create a vibrant space for our community and allies to gather in pride, acceptance, and celebration of our diversity and of our future as a community.
SF Pride’s board, staff, contractors, and community advisory board along with myself, the new Interim Executive Director, have been working hard to keep the organization focused on reducing our deficit, continuing to pay our grant commitments to our 2010 community partners, and putting on a vibrant, meaningful, and fantastic Pride Celebration and Parade for 2011. We are happy to report that we have already reduced our outstanding obligations by $65,000 to date, leaving us with $160,000 left to go. We won’t get there right away, but we are making every tough and prudent decision that we can to get Pride back on solid financial ground while still maintaining a safe and accessible Celebration and Parade on June 25 and 26 of this year. One of the keys to our success at the moment is the hope, dedication, and support of everyone in the community who knows how important SF Pride’s 41 years of history is to our LGBT community. With your support, we will get there.
In the days and weeks to come, we know that we owe it to our community to speak openly and honestly about the concrete steps we are taking to move SF Pride back to the solid ground that it found itself on as recently as just one year ago. One year will not be enough to unravel the long history of this organization and the role that it has played for LGBT people and our allies. We are working hard to open up our channels of communication to let our community know how much progress is being made and our commitment to continue to make the necessary steps to get SF Pride back to the solid financial footing that characterized this organization just one and a half years ago. We want to also thank all those that have stood with us as we take the necessary steps to get this organization back on solid ground, including our community advisory board, our community partners, our members and volunteers, our sponsors, our contractors, and the members of the community who’ve reached out to us to lend a helping hand. We are fighting the good fight to assure that SF Pride continues to stand tall as a symbol of hope for LGBT people everywhere.