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A leap forward for Pride Toronto

A leap forward for Pride Toronto

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Pride elects five new board members and boasts a big surplus
Pride Toronto elected five new board members at its annual general meeting Oct 25, three of whom are women, and the organization is finishing the year with a surplus of more than $300,000.

The new board members include event planner and entertainer Kerry Bell, who moved to Canada last year from Jamaica; Accenture partner Kent Churn; social worker and University of Toronto professor Shelly Craig; communications professional, journalist and grassroots community organizer Lauryn Kronick; and lawyer Paul Saguil.

The new members add much-needed gender and ethnic diversity to the board.

“I feel really proud right now to be part of such a diverse and talented team working to further human rights for this wonderful community,” Bell says.


About 70 people attended the meeting. Pride Toronto executive director Kevin Beaulieu says it was “incredibly gratifying” to see so many engaged community members take part in the process.

“I am looking forward to working with the new board members, as well as the existing ones,” he says. “They bring new energy. You want a good balance of community perspective, as well as skills and expertise, and we went a long way to achieving that tonight.”

The board also released its audited financials, showing a surplus of $367,316. This is a big change from 2010, which was one of the "worst years in PT’s history."

Beaulieu says the stable financial position was a key goal for the board as it gears up its planning for WorldPride in 2014.

Outgoing board member Daniel Knox plans to stay on temporarily as treasurer while the board transitions and a new member fills the position. Knox says the board saved a significant amount of money on office and administration costs.

“Living within our means has been the theme for the financial department for the last couple years,” he says. “We did spend some money on WorldPride. As you know, we are planning two festivals this year.”

Pride Toronto grants have decreased in 2012, particularly from the provincial government, which is one reason having a surplus is important. Meanwhile, the threat of losing the $123,807 grant from the City of Toronto looms over the festival each year.

Recently, city funding has come with strings attached and a demand that Pride exclude the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid because some city councillors oppose its message. Knox says having the surplus puts the board in a comfortable position, offering the possibility to decline funding and maintain Pride's core principles.

“While there seems to be restrictions and strings attached, so far that relationship [with the city] has been pretty good,” Beaulieu says. “It’s not a question of whether or not we will ever need the funding. There is a role for the city to play in Pride. As a community, we have built a relationship over the past 40 years. It’s important. Pride benefits the city.


“Having said that, if it’s absolutely necessary, having a buffer is helpful if we are ever met with the circumstance that funding is no longer available to us. I think people are very proud of having a large and diverse Pride festival.”

Pride also chose its theme early for the 2013 festival in order to get a head start on planning for next year. "Super Queer" won by a landslide. The other options were "Come Together" and "The World Is Coming."

To choose the theme for WorldPride in 2014, chair Francisco Alvarez says the board will launch a social media campaign, beginning Oct 31. The shortlist includes "Bring it! Rise Up! Rainbow Revolution" and "Reflections of Pride – Stonewall 45."

“We want to open it up to the world. So we will be turning to social media to choose the 2014 WorldPride theme,” Alvarez says.

He says the board continues to actively search for volunteers to take part in WorldPride planning, including the recruitment of a WorldPride coordinator in November.
  Pride Toronto 2012 Audited Financials Pride Toronto 2012 Annual Report
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Comments

@Joe - QuAIA dare march in Gaza???
@Joe -- you raise a good point - it is ironical indeed that QuAIA can march in Toronto about Israeli Apartheid (so-called) but DARE NOT march as open and out gays in Palestine or anywhere else in the Middle East yet they still choose to be USED by the very people who would persecute them for being GAY
QuAIA will protest Israel in Gaza
I agree that QuAIA should NOT march in Toronto Pride because their mandate is not Gay focused. If they were protesting that Palestinians are persecuting their Gays, then that would be more fitting for the Pride Parade —as this is true. If they would protest the racist homophobic Rabbis of Israel and their hatred of Gays, that too would fit in the Pride Parade because it is true. Until QuAIA acquire a Gay/LGBT focused message, they should try to march in Caribana —it would be equally appropriate as marching in Pride. Better yet, they should march as Gays/Lesbians protesting Israel, in front of the Great Mosque and down Omar Mukhtar Street, the main street of Gaza City. There would be a nice lynching ceremony welcoming them. Hamas knows how to deal with dissidents. Pride should learn from them.
@roy - the right time and place
@roy
What's wrong with criticising any state government - if criticism makes you feel uncomfortable... I'd say that's a better trade off than supporting censorship. ... Are you even gay? - NOTHING WRONG WITH CRITICIZING ANY GOVERMNENT -IT IS A MATTER OF THE RIGHT TIME AND PLACE - pride parade is about gay rights and pride - it is not the UN debating world politics from Tibet to Darfur to Rwanda - Criticize Israel on your own dime and not on municipal funding which is for gay rights and pride - not a matter of CENSORSHIP but of RELEVANCE to Pride's mandate - You have a problem starting your OWN Parade to push your political agenda? - Are you even Palestinian???
@ G. Lee
What's wrong with criticising any state government - if criticism makes you feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, I'd say that's a better trade off than supporting censorship. Have fun at the cottage. Are you even gay?
Israel - land of gay rights - @roy
@roy, Toronto, who writes - I know that the new board will continue the work to make Pride open and welcoming to ALL queers and hopefully those who are so miffed about QuAIA will spend the week at the cottage. --- ALSO ALL PRO-ISRAEL QUEERS ??? because of Israel's gay rights - only country in the Middle East - ONE MILLION people go to the Parade not to witness Israel-Palestinian poliicts - perhaps it is the radical left of QuAIA, a tiny tiny minority, that should go to the cottage or better yet to a warm welcome in Gaza or Iran
The irrelevance of QuAIA - @Jim
@Jim, Toronto, who says -- It's quite unbelievable to me that Xtra would write an article about new members of the board and not tell us their positions on Israel and on QuAIA. ---WHO CARES? THE CORE OF PRIDE TORONTO'S MANDATE IS TO DEAL WITH GAY RIGHTS AND PRIDE IN TORONTO AND IF YOU WISH IN PALESTINE - QuAIA, a tiny radical left group, should not even be on Pride Toronto's radar as it is irrelevant to the core message of gay pride and rights
thanks Xtra
thanks for covering the AGM and capturing the spirit of the evening. I know that the new board will continue the work to make Pride open and welcoming to ALL queers and hopefully those who are so miffed about QuAIA will spend the week at the cottage. The great thing about Pride - It's always cottage weather!
Yes but...
I'm sorry but Toronto's Pride (thanks mostly to Xtra) means only thing to many of us: Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. It's quite unbelievable to me that Xtra would write an article about new members of the board and not tell us their positions on Israel and on QuAIA.
decline city funding? no way
quote - Recently, city funding has come with strings attached and a demand that Pride exclude the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid because some city councillors oppose its message. Knox says having the surplus puts the board in a comfortable position, offering the possibility to decline funding and maintain Pride's core principles. --- DECLINE FUNDING TO APPEASE A SMALL RADICAL LEFTIST GROUP??? AND HURT THE MAJORITY WHO COULD NOT CARE LESS ABOUT THIS GROUP --- WHAT PRINCIPLE? - THE PRINCIPLE THAT A SMALL GROUP CAN WATER DOWN THE MESSAGE OF GAY RIGHTS AND PRIDE, WHICH IS WHAT THE PARADE IS ABOUT
What ethnic diversity???
The author of this article says - The new members add much-needed gender and ethnic diversity to the board - ETHNIC DIVERSITY??? - of the eleven in the photo I see only one that is a visible minority - explain !

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