The entire advisory board for Pride in London has quit and has accused the organisation of creating a “hostile environment” for people of colour volunteers.
It comes a day after Pride in London’s most senior Black volunteer, Rhammel Afflick, handed in his resignation saying that he’s lost confidence in their ability to “successfully address the adversities faced by our multi-faceted communities.”
These concerns have been echoed further in a resignation letter by all 10 members of the community advisory board who have called for new leadership at the organisation, which is responsible for the UK’s largest Pride march.
The letter also includes allegations of marginalisation and bullying within Pride in London, as well as criticising the group for failing to set up an anonymous formal complaints procedure in order to safely raise concerns.
“Contributing to this hostile environment, is the increasing preoccupation at Pride in London with managing the public relations concerns of its leadership, at the cost of supporting its Black and POC [people of colour] volunteers or community members,” the resignation letter says, according to The Guardian.
This week’s resignations follow Pride in London’s decision to allow the Metropolitan Police to apply to march in this year’s parade, due to take place on 11 September.
There have been calls for the Metropolitan Police to have a significantly reduced presence at the parade in response to continued police brutality against Black and Brown communities.
The Metropolitan Police also have a history of brutality against the LGBTQ+ community and their presence at Pride has long been opposed.
“We are not confident that Pride in London can act on behalf of Black and POC communities on the issue of policing with any credence, given the alarming accounts of marginalisation and bullying from Black and POC volunteers,” the resignation letter reads.
“It is our view that Pride in London has acted less as custodians of a sacred event that champions the rights of all in our community, and more as a personal project of a privileged few.
“At this point, it is clear that there is no desire from Pride in London to take onboard recommendations by the CAB or the wider community.”
The community advisory board recommends LGBTQ+ people of colour who’d like to volunteer for Pride in London to “look elsewhere”.
“To say it has been exhausting, would be an understatement,” said Ozzy Amir, the former chair and BAME representative of the Community Advisory Board.
“We’ve been trying for years to constructively work with Pride to bring about positive change for our communities, but at some point, you have to say: enough is enough. It’s very demoralising when senior leaders disregard community views and advice because it isn’t in line with their personal views.
“We were going into meetings, aware we weren’t getting the full picture on key issues, such as the existence of serious complaints, or learning key decisions which required CAB consultation had already been made. It’s clear there is little accountability, and more stage management when it comes to the community advisory board.”
“The rot runs deep and it’s past time for this board of directors to go.”
In response to these fresh allegations, a spokesperson for Pride in London said: “We take concerns around bullying very seriously and have a number of processes in place for our volunteers to be able to lodge formal complaints, including anonymously, which are then followed up on and investigated.
“We acknowledge that we need to rebuild trust with Black communities and people of colour, and to that end we are conducting a full review of our processes and procedures at board level in order to bring about tangible and meaningful change. We will share more on these decisions within the next week.”