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Calgary Pride is accountable to the diverse communities we serve, and we take your calls for accountability to heart.

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard from Calgary Pride staff and community members on issues of workplace safety through denouncing systemic racism within Calgary Pride. Our silence on social media might lead people to believe we were not taking things seriously, this is not the case; we have been in conversation with many, listening intently, and documenting your feedback.

Calgary Pride is deeply regretful for any role our organization, its leadership, or its board have played in negative experiences being shared.

We have initiated an independent, third-party assessment of Calgary Pride’s workplace culture by someone who applies trauma-informed practice and relevant cultural competencies, and we are committed to as much transparency through this process as relevant privacy and confidentiality laws will allow. We have been informed the investigation will take from seven weeks to a few months to complete.

We respect that some are not comfortable speaking with us directly. We are working with the information available to ensure a thorough investigation, but we also know our investigator will ask to speak with some of the people sharing stories, and we will reach out again to connect the relevant people.

We appreciate any patience that community members can offer during our investigation, and we continue to be grateful for your input and sharing.

Over and above specific incidents, this statement is part of our response to the communities’ broader calls for accountability.

The Pride movement is meant to foster resilience, to empower and uplift the voices of those erased, disadvantaged, marginalized, or forgotten.

As it pertains to systemic racism, we have moved more slowly than we would like, and we can appreciate that it appears that Calgary Pride hasn’t acted at all. This is partially a communications failure on our part and one that has not contributed positively to the current situation.

Calgary Pride began recognizing, some time ago, that we were not where we needed to be. We recognized that we were only beginning to understand intersectionality, that we needed to better understand the everyday struggles of 2SQTBIPOC communities, and that we needed to integrate relevant learning into our organization’s bylaws, policies, programs, events and digital footprint. There is still much work that lies ahead.

According to 2016 census data, 37.7 percent of Calgarians are counted as Indigenous or visible minorities. This is a clear demonstration of the incredible and growing diversity within Canada and our gender and sexually diverse communities, but this is not yet reflected within Calgary Pride’s organizational landscape: our board members, our staff, our volunteers, and even our festival participants. Our goal is to see stronger representation from Indigenous and visible minorities, and to set a better example of intersectional leadership.

We recognize the disruption of systemic racism within Calgary Pride is in its early stages, and that talk of commitment must also include tangible action in order to demonstrate accountability.

As it pertains to action, we struggle with the tension between what could be considered performative, and being transparent with our communities. While we acknowledge that actions below are not necessarily reparative or restorative to those directly impacted, we hope they demonstrate our commitment to disrupting systemic racism.

  • At the 2019 AGM Calgary Pride amended our bylaws to add three board seats, bringing the possible board contingent to 15 members, with a long term goal of ensuring diversity of thought and lived experience on the Calgary Pride board.
  • Over the last two years, Calgary Pride’s board, staff, and committee teams have been attending governance, anti-racism and inclusive leadership training, something we are committed to doing on an annual basis.This learning is foundational to our actions.
  • Over the last six months, we have been working through amendments to our board structure, including a move away from titles such as President and Vice-President, to co-chairs and officers. These changes will be presented to membership for voting at our 2021 AGM.
  • We continue to work on succession planning for our board, intent on ensuring that 2SQTBIPOC voices and leadership are amplified.
  • Our board composition will also be changing as we plan to hold seats for the voices of those with explicit and relevant lived experience, such as LGBTQ2S+ seniors, 2SQTBIPOC, and folks with disabilities.
  • Our board president made the decision to not stand for reelection at the 2021 AGM, hoping that existing QTBIPOC leadership would be amplified, as well as to make space for greater intersectionality on the board of Calgary Pride.
  • In August, we created a diversity subcommittee of our board, finalized its terms of reference, and we’re in the process of receiving guidance on how best to create an intersectional advisory council that will be compensated for their contributions. These initiatives have been paused due to shifting priorities for the former co-chairs of the committee; both will be reinstated in 2021.
  • We are currently engaged in a review of Calgary Pride’s organizational policies by folks who have specialized knowledge in anti-racism, anti-oppression and decolonization. The learning we gain through this process will be shared on our website next year.
  • As part of ongoing organizational capacity building, we’ve engaged with a Two-Spirit Knowledge Keeper from Treaty 7 territory, who currently resides in Treaty 6 territory. He was engaged prior to these calls for accountability, and we are pleased to be working with him on a policy audit, process development, and learning about the awareness wheel among other teachings. In addition to this, as part of the intersectional advisory noted above, we will seek and invite Elders and Knowledge Keepers to participate in the ongoing changes within Calgary Pride.
  • 2019-2020 Pride festivals began dedicating programming hours and resources to racialized artists and educators. Recently-approved grants include roles and contracts explicitly transferring influence and resources to 2SQTBIPOC artists, educators and other professionals.

We welcome any feedback. Calgary Pride’s general feedback form goes directly to our board and includes the opportunity for anonymous feedback. Should you have any information relevant to the actions outlined above, or additional information you wish to share, please visit: