This statement is intended to answer questions from the community that have so far only been answered indirectly. We are also happy to share the actions we have taken in the past months to create a more inclusive organisation. Moving forward, we want to set a new course and take the first steps towards making our dreams for the future of Rotterdam Pride a reality.
The Rotterdam Pride Foundation was established in 2013. Since then, a number of incidents have occurred which have raised questions and provoked anger within the Rotterdam community. Right-wing extremist activists were welcomed into our midst – people who do not strive for equality regardless of origin, gender or religion. These organisations are known to use anti-LGBT+ violence as an argument against immigration. During the Pride Walk, activists from various organisations were not explicitly protected, whereas other organisations were given an immediate green light to participate.
Both the current and previous boards, the executive team and all of our ambassadors resolutely reject discrimination, exclusion, extremism and polarisation, and look back on these incidents with regret. The current board takes full responsibility for these events, viewing them as learning experiences which can help make Rotterdam Pride the event the city and its community deserve. In a city such as Rotterdam, which is home to over 170 nationalities, inclusion should be the primary goal of any Pride event.
We also believe that a board which values diversity should always reflect the community it represents, and that its members should have a proven track record of social activism in the fight for equality.
The new board, the executive team and the ambassadors all recognise the fact that the global Pride movement has its roots in the undeniably courageous activism of trans women of colour. As a result, we want to take this history as a starting point as we make new plans for the future of Rotterdam Pride, and commit ourselves to supporting the most vulnerable groups within our community in as many ways as we can. We want Pride to offer a welcoming space to everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community, both in Rotterdam and beyond. We are convinced that a positive, loving and tolerant mindset is the bridge to equality. We are always open to suggestions, ideas and cooperation, because we believe in working together constructively. We are committed to a future in which Rotterdam Pride can represent the boundless creativity of our city and all of the beautiful people who call it home.
In order for Rotterdam Pride to accomplish its agenda and activities, financial support is needed from the business community. As an organisation, we too are concerned about the balance between authentic Pride and commercial influence. Companies are involved in our lives in many different ways, and we believe in the power of collaboration. We do, however, continuously analyse and evaluate our partnerships to ensure that they meet our standards. Of course, input from the community on these matters is always more than welcome.
Our partners must sign a Code of Rotterdam Pride, and in doing so confirm that they agree with our views on racism, sexism, queerphobia, bullying and every other form of exclusion, and commit to actively addressing these issues within their own organisations.
During Rotterdam Pride, there will be a roundtable discussion with commercial parties, but also non-profit allies, in order to facilitate an open dialogue on how we should approach any partnerships moving forward.
We will officially launch a financial support scheme and invite our allies and small-scale non-profit organisations to apply. It will also be possible to nominate initiatives other than your own for the scheme.
We would like to conclude this statement with a brief overview of all the steps that the Rotterdam Pride Foundation has taken recently:
June – 2020
1. A direct reorganisation of a , for 90% new team. Some members of this team are temporary and will be replaced by people from Rotterdam who have the same vision as the current organisation.
July – 2020
1. Two out of three board members step down.
2. Open application sent out for new board members.
August – 2020
1. Getting together a fully new group of ambassadors, who also function as a sounding board for their specific community.
2. Forming a 80% new board in collaboration with ambassadors and team.
We want to emphasise once again that our organisation can only grow and learn through community input. So if you have feedback, tips or ideas, please email [email protected]. Should this result in a more intensive collaboration, we will provide financial compensation for your efforts. We will keep you informed about the progress we are making, and we are looking forward to a wonderful new edition of Rotterdam Pride.
On behalf of the board, the executive team and all of our ambassadors,