Boston Pride

Boston Pride Announces Changes, Saying It Failed to Address Structural Racism

The organization said the moves were made to address “concerns raised by Black, Brown, transgender people and other members of our community"

Mark Garfinkel/NBC10 Boston

Boston Pride, the organization behind Boston Pride Week, on Thursday announced new positions on its board and advisory committee amid criticism it has failed to address structural racism.

The organization said the new seats on its board, transformation advisory committee and community advisory council were part of a "transformation" started this summer to address “concerns raised by Black, Brown, transgender people and other members of our community.”

In a letter to the community, Boston Pride apologized for failing to react appropriately to the police killing of Tony McDade, a black transgender man; and the murders of two transgender women, Dominique Rem'mie Fells and Riah Milton, in separate incidents earlier this year.

“We’ve heard the concerns of our community, who were disappointed by the Boston Pride Board’s actions this summer, and we’ve been working hard over the last several months to address those concerns in a comprehensive manner,” said Linda DeMarco, president of Boston Pride.

“We need broader representation throughout our community, and we are prioritizing the representation of Queer, Transgender/Gender non-binary, Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other people of color on our board, on our committees and at our events.”

The moves come in the wake of national racial justice protests this spring and summer following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people.  

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The organization said its board ignored requests to “include an acknowledgement of systemic abuse by police and law enforcement and did not include #BlackLivesMatter in our letter about the protests that were taking place in May and June.”

More than a thousand people marched Saturday for transgender rights, from Boston's Franklin Park, down busy city streets, through traffic.

The organization called police brutality against Black people as well as the under-reporting of violence and police brutality against transgender and non-binary people “intolerable.”

The Human Rights Campaign, which has tracked deaths of transgender people since 2013, said earlier this year it had seen more such deaths this year than in previous years.

In June, Boston Pride said it had postponed many of its virtual events to celebrate Pride Month in order to focus on supporting calls for racial justice.

That came after Boston Pride in April announced they were postponing the 50th anniversary of Boston Pride Week and the Boston Pride Parade until June of 2021 over coronavirus concerns.

NBC10 Boston, NECN and Telemundo Boston are media sponsors for Boston Pride.

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