[Photo credit: Fading Ad Blog] An e-mail sent out earlier this month to past New York City Pride March participants indicated that organizers had decided to do away with specific "theme sections" and allow organizations to register for "first-come, first-serve" ordering.
This made me wonder if the announced changes would mean that the long-standing People of Color contingent, which has historically marched 2nd or 3rd in line, would be dissolved, in essence, and POC groups dispersed along the marching route ("NYC Pride March organizers do away with 'theme sections'", January 9, 2009).
In an open letter sent out on January 19th by Heritage of Pride, organizers of the march, they make clear that this will not be the case.
The agency says that "Groups who have traditionally marched as a unified front - such as the POC contingency - will still be able to do so with the full cooperation and support of HOP" and "The POC contingency and its placement at the front of The March is part of both the political significance and rich history of The March, and it has always been HOP’s intent to keep them in their rightful place."
Full text below -
To Whom It May Concern:
On behalf of Heritage of Pride (HOP), I would like to extend our sincerest apologies for any confusion or negativity that may have resulted from our recent email regarding the organization of this year’s march. The email, sent by the HOP March Committee, announced our decision to discontinue the ordering of The March by “themed sections” and allow for March placement to be determined on a first-come-first-serve basis. Regretfully, the email did not explain how the decision would affect contingents that wish to continue marching together, nor did it explain the reasoning behind the decision. As a result, the decision was misinterpreted and a significant portion of our community was left feeling offended and overlooked. This was certainly not our intention and we are deeply sorry for any miscommunication and the distress it may have caused.
In the past, groups registering to march were automatically assigned a category and required to march with their designated “section”. Under the policy, the formation of “sections” will be a “at will” and left to the discretion of each registering group. We wish to make it clear that the new policy does not prohibit individual groups from marching together as a “section”. Groups who have traditionally marched as a unified front (such as the POC contingency) will still be able to do so with the full cooperation and support of HOP.
The new policy does dictate that March order be determined on a first-come-first-serve basis, but contains a clause allowing HOP to make exceptions and assign placement in order to maintain the overall integrity of The March. HOP is firmly committed to preserving the core values of The March. The POC contingency and its placement at the front of The March is part of both the political significance and rich history of The March, and it has always been HOP’s intent to keep them in their rightful place.
Hop would like the POC community to know that we have always, and will always, support them in any way we can. We thank you for your understanding on this matter. If anyone has any questions or would like to be involved in the decision making process of NYC PRIDE, we welcome them attend one of our various planning sessions. Meeting dates and times can be found at nycpride.org.
Yours in Pride,
Heritage of Pride, Inc.
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