A few months ago, a member of the St. John’s Pride Board of Directors made comments to the media that did not reflect nor represent the overall opinion of the Board. In short, that individual stated that the current Liberal Party and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary should be banned from the Pride Parade unless a formal apology was issued relating to arrests made at the Village Mall Shopping Centre in 1993. As a result, the entire Board of Directors resigned.
During March of 2018, an emergency task force was put in place to deal with the situation. This group conducted a community dialogue, a discussion panel, a community survey, and oversaw the elections of a new Board of Directors on March 25th.
The new board is led by three co-chairs; Derek Semarad (Co-Chair Internal), Paul Combdon (Co-Chair External) & Bill Squires (Co-Chair Finance), along with 6 Directors at large; Thomas O’Brien, Ryan Steeves, Ashley Ruby, Nic Kuzmochka, Hanna Mekawy and Victoria Pumphrey.
The results of the community survey, which will be released in a few weeks, show that the majority of the LBGTQIAP2S+ Community are in favour of uniformed police officers participating in the Pride Parade.
As a Board, we realize that there are still issues that need to be addressed regarding relations with local police enforcement and the LBGTQIAP2S+ Community, but we have chosen to address these issues by working “Together” with the RNC and RCMP. We have already started this conversation and will be meeting with Chief of Police, Joe Boland, and representatives from the RNC in the upcoming weeks.
There is a positive eagerness from both parties to work together to create a Pride week that our LBGTQIAP2S+ Community can be proud of and feel safe participating in, and more overall a city we can be proud of and feel safe living in.
The theme of this years Pride Week is “TOGETHER”. Any individual, group, or organization who wishes to support or foster positive relations with the LBGTQIAP2S+ Community is welcome to participate in the parade or any event.
This years Pride week will run from July 15-21st. Unlike previous years, we will hold the parade on the first day of Pride Week. The parade will commence at 3:00 pm from City Hall on July 15th, 2018. The full Pride Week schedule of events will be released in the upcoming weeks.