As recently reported on by Creative Loafing Charlotte, Charlotte Pride wanted the Trans and Queer People of Color Collective (TQPocC) to sign a partnership agreement in the wake of failed meetings leading up to the festival and parade concerning policing.
We have received that statement, published below. Prior to the publication of the article in Creative Loafing, qnotes was also working on a story about this issue. While the Pride board initially said they were working to get us answers, they eventually went silent. They apparently told Creative Loafing that they would not be commenting, but choose to simply stop returning emails from qnotes.
We held our story to give them ample time to respond, or at least state that they would not be commenting, but they did neither.
– – – DRAFT STATEMENT – – –
Charlotte Pride and Transgender and Queer People of Color Collective Charlotte enter partnership to highlight issues of concern for LGBTQ people of color.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As part of an ongoing commitment to inclusion and equality for all in our LGBTQ communities, Charlotte Pride and the Transgender and Queer People of Color Collective Charlotte (TQPocC Charlotte) have announced a partnership to ensure the presence of important voices for trans and queer people of color at this year’s Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade.
Beginning several weeks ago, Charlotte Pride began proactive outreach and conversations with a diversity of community stakeholders when it felt this year’s annual festival and parade might be declared an “extraordinary event” by Charlotte city officials. As an organization, Charlotte Pride is keenly aware of the implications that increased policing may have on our LGBTQ community, especially for trans communities and people of color. Charlotte Pride has been honored to work with the TQPocC Charlotte to help lead a conversation on the legitimate concerns of trans and queer people of color. Charlotte Pride has long enjoyed a positive working relationship with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and Charlotte Pride has had meaningful, proactive conversations with CMPD about the sensitivity marginalized groups within the LGBTQ may have in response to a stepped up police presence.
As part of this year’s partnership, the TQPocC Charlotte will be among several other small non-profits and other community organizations to be provided complimentary or discounted vendor space at this year’s Charlotte Pride Festival. A TQPocC representative will also speak during the festival’s opening ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 20, 12:30 p.m., at the festival’s main stage to help bring awareness to underserved and underrepresented communities. Additionally, Charlotte Pride has provided a small stipend to assist TQPocC Charlotte members’ on-site efforts.
Charlotte Pride and TQPocC Charlotte look forward to continued conversations with a diversity of community members to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all attendees of the annual Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade. Together, our organizations look forward to joining tens of thousands of LGBTQ community members and our allies for two days of community celebration, enrichment and empowerment on Aug. 20 and 21 in Uptown Charlotte.
Ashley Williams of TQPocC responded that they would not be signing a partnership agreement.
“The statement is very inaccurate and we don’t feel comfortable co-signing it,” they said, adding that for a partnership to happen both sides have to have trust. They said they felt they were barely listened to and that their concerns were not adequately supported.
“For there to be trust, one group can’t continuously undermine the other group and expect for them to be on board with a partnership. The thing that’s more important than highlighting issues of concern for us is providing solutions. We do not believe that Charlotte Pride has demonstrated an ‘ongoing commitment to inclusion.’ Furthermore, we don’t believe that Charlotte Pride has been ‘proactive.’ Contacting black trans folks in the community a month before pride is not proactive. The ‘positive working relationship’ that Charlotte Pride has with CMPD has absolutely nothing to do with our concerns, it actually undermines them. Mentioning that as part of the partnership, Pride has donated the booth space seems again like you’re attempting to placate us and our organizations by doing us a favor of providing booth space.”
“Charlotte Pride has to do the work,” they continued, “and the work has to come before these types of statements. Charlotte Pride can start with an apology. We believe that would be more meaningful than this statement. It’s time for Charlotte Pride to take ownership in the community about being responsible for why trans and queer people of color are ‘underserved’ in the first place.”