Pride in London advisory board members resign over "hostile environment" for POC volunteers

Community Advisory Board members called out Pride in London for failing to support POC volunteers, 'citing alarming accounts of marginalisation and bullying.'

Pride in London event where people hold a massive rainbow

Every Community Advisory Board (CAB) member of Pride in London has resigned in response to the organisation’s alleged “hostile environment” for POC volunteers.

All ten members of CAB stepped down from their position along with several senior directors, including Pride in London’s most senior Black volunteer. In their resignation letter, they called for new leadership to take charge of the organisation and an independent investigation by the mayor’s office into allegations of marginalisation and bullying. 

The resignation letter criticises Pride in London for failing to establish an anonymous formal complaints system for volunteers to voice their concerns or report cases of bullying, according to The Guardian. It further reads, “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.”

“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 continues.

The board members go on to write, “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.”

In 2012, CAB was launched to advise Pride in London directors on matters of inclusivity as well as help promote transparency and openness in the organisation. Board member and host of Queer Talk, Mufseen Miah, wrote on Twitter, “I resigned from my role in Pride in London. There are many reasons for my decision but what’s clear is that there are structural changes that are needed in operational leadership. I cannot continue to provide my time as a queer POC whilst the organisation doesn’t have the confidence of the community.”

Pride in London’s most senior Black volunteer, Rhammel Afflick, handed in his resignation, expressing that he has lost his confidence in their ability to “successfully address the adversities faced by our multi-faceted communities.”

The mass resignations follows Pride in London announcing their decision to permit the Metropolitan Police to take part in this year’s event. During deliberations, the CAB recommended that the police should not be allowed to march as a group in the parade.

Former chair and BAME representative of the CAB, Ozzy Amir, stated, “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,” Amir went on to add. 

In response to the mass resignation and allegations of bullying and hostile attitudes, a spokesperson for Pride in London said, “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.”

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