Final Candidate Statement for Pride 2014 Elections

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and consider me as a candidate for the position of Secretary/Co-Chair for Second Pride.

This will be my final statement that I will be posting on the pride forums when the time comes.  But being unsure of how many of you have gone there, I am posting it here as well.

There are a few things I want to talk about as this “campaign” comes to an end.

History – Since its inception Second Pride has enjoyed a rich and varied history.  In the past the festival has been a culmination of long hard work by the entire community.  its time to get back to that.  In the past SP events have been held at various times around the grid by sponsoring sims/organizations as a joint effort with Pride.  This gives both groups a chance to show off.  Its time to get back to that.  There has been space given in the past to showcase the varied visual artists within our community.  Its time we get back to that.  In the past there has been space available for displaying the AIDS/HIV quilt, its time we get back to that.  I understand its so large now that it could require a whole full sim to display completely.  I would propose that we designate a spot at the Pride sim as a permanent location to display sections of the quilt that could be rotated in on a regular basis.  Its important to remember from where we came in this bold move forward.  Our LGBT predecessors  worked hard for alot of rights that we are now beginning to enjoy.  Its important to remember that and honor that.
Community – I have said in the past that OUR greater community is made up of smaller closer knit groups that are often insular in nature and rarely venture into the realms of other groups.  I can respect and appreciate that.  But we as a whole have to recognize that for the greater community to flourish we need to be able to come together periodically for open and frank discussions and events.
Moving Forward – We as a community won’t always agree on how anything should be accomplished.  But moving forward we need to be open and frank in our discussions.   Take ownership of our comments and ideas.  Hiding behind nameless faceless comments on some hate blog isn’t productive and only leads to divisiveness.  The board needs to have open and frank discussions with various groups within the community as a whole (the lesbians, the elves, the furries, and the GA) to help foster a better relationship and try to bring everyone back to the table.
Teamwork – this does not mean that anyone has to agree 100% of the time with what the team does.  But for me it does mean that if you choose to be part of a team then you should participate to the best of your ability.  Being part of a team means you can express reservations about ideas/plans.

Fundraising – we need to have fundraising kiosks out all year long. A good way to increase buzz about Pride would be to do a fundraising challenge. Sims/groups/clubs and individuals could form teams.  The higher amounts that a registered “team” raises gives them higher rewards, such as a bigger display spot at the festival, or a more prime time slot for dance or some other event of their choosing during the festival.  Just a thought.

Events/Event Planning – The area needs a great deal of attention.  This is a good area to work on the diversity and inclusion of all groups.  I feel that we should have at least a minimum an event every 8 weeks and they should be spread out among the different communities, allowing them to show off as well.  In RL I have worked as an events planner and understand the complexities of it, but also know that buzz is important. And for events we need to get past the idea that everything needs to happen between 4PM and 10PM SL.  We have a significant portion of the community in the Pacific Rim and Asia as well.

Representation/Diversity – I believe that all groups should feel represented by the board. Every member of the greater community should feel that they could bring issues and concerns to the board and recieve due attention.  The past few years has seen the board gain a representation as being only for the men.  The way to fix this is have the community relations person reach out to all the major groups spend time with them, learn their concerns, bring them to the board, foster relationships that have been bruised and broken. Diversity isn’t gained by having a woman, a furry , a gorean, or a bear on the board just as a token.  The board needs to have strong leaders who can reach out to the entire community.  The board needs to reach out and nurture participation among the varied groups.
Customer Service – The members of the board are there to represent you. In that the board members should be respectful and courteous to the public that they represent.  This holds true for the community as well.  Some level or courtesy and respect will get you along way in life.

Marginalization– every member of our community is a valuable asset whether you agree with them or not. Not always agreeing is how communities grow.  I will not stand for marginilzation of anyone through the use of blind hate blogs, spewing random comments that are unsubstantiated.  They have no value to the community as a whole and truly only serve as a sideshow.  Moving forward we shouldn’t feed the trolls, even if they are part of the community or claim to be.

Thank you for reading.  This upcoming year for the Pride Committee is an important year.  I encourage everyone to vote. Vote with your conscious and with an understanding of who you are voting for.  If you are reading this on my blog, if you are not registered to vote, you will need to register on the Second Pride website, information at this link.  And you also need to be a member of the Second Pride Festival group.  I have never learned how to paste those nifty links that will take you to the join page.  But if you look in my profile you can find the group there and link to it that way.

Thank you for your time.

Petr Vanbeeck

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