Halifax Pride Discontinuing Booths on Festival Grounds
Halifax, N.S. (K’jipuktuk) - After extensive discussion, consultation, and a difficult community debate preceding and following the 2016 Halifax Pride Festival, the Halifax Pride Board of Directors and Executive Director Adam Reid, have decided to discontinue organizing booth space, previously referred to as the Community Fair, as part of the Halifax Pride Festival Grounds.
The Festival Grounds will continue on Saturday, July 22 with Mainstage performances, Kids Area, food vendors, and a Beverage Garden, but space for booths will not be provided on site. A Community Market will be offered as part of a new Gottingen Block Party event on Friday, July 28. Community Market registrants will be limited to 2SLGBTQ+ not-for-profit organizations and queer identified artisans, as per a new Community Market Policy.
“The Community Fair, like so many of our events, is one that developed over time and effort by volunteer organizers,” says Reid. “As the event and the festival grew, sufficient policies and guidelines unfortunately did not grow along with it. We’ve been concerned about the fair for several years. We regret that it took a divisive debate for us to take bold action, but we are making efforts to learn from our mistakes and do better for the community.”
The Community Fair was a main point of contention at the 2016 Halifax Pride Annual General Meeting, where community members brought resolutions forward to vote on the inclusion of materials at the fair.
“Our lack of preparedness allowed for a decision-making process that was antagonistic and combative, rather than collaborative,” says Morgan Manzer, Chair of the Board of Directors. “We forced concerned community members to enter an environment where many did not feel comfortable and it was impossible to come to satisfactory decisions for everyone. That environment and process caused harm to both the Queer Arabs of Halifax, the queer Jewish community, and the 2SLGBTQ+ communities we serve.”
The decision to discontinue the Community Fair, and reimagine a new Community Market with a clearer focus and stronger policy, will hopefully avoid similar conflicts and repeating similar mistakes in the future.
The problems with the Community Fair manifested themselves well prior to the 2016 AGM. The Fair’s lack of coherent vision and policy guidelines resulted in it failing to serve the community and booth registrants in meaningful ways, and the time for its discontinuation was well overdue.
A renewed commitment to developing guideline documents, including the Dispute Resolution Process, the Anti-Discrimination Policy, and the Halifax Pride Partner Initiative Survey, are part of an effort to better address discrepancies or disputes, while maintaining Halifax Pride’s commitment to a safe and accessible Halifax Pride Society.
New guidelines and policies are being created by the Board of Directors and Executive Director with feedback gathered at community meetings. Community members are welcome to take part in these discussions by attending our community meetings, posted via the Halifax Pride Facebook Page.
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About Halifax Pride
The Halifax Pride Festival will take place July 20-30, 2017. The annual parade will take place in the opening days of the festival, on Saturday, July 22. 2017 will mark Halifax Pride’s 30th festival. Halifax Pride is one of the premier Pride festivals in Canada.
Nick Voutour (pronouns – he/him)