Utah Pride COVID-19 Updates
Message from the Utah Pride Center Board of Directors
Utah Pride Center Board update on the current State of The Center in July 2020.
Board of Directors Response Letter to Allegations Levied Against the Utah Pride Center
Each June we hang our rainbow flags and proclaim our existence as people of varied race, sexual orientation and backgrounds as we celebrate June as the official Pride Month of LGBTQ+ self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in our community. The Utah Pride Center works 365 days a year to empower and celebrate Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community by providing a safe and welcoming space for education, partnerships, services and events which advance our collective health, wellness and success. For more than 30 years the Utah Pride Center has proudly been the voice of our community, creating lasting change and working with the public to ensure inclusion among all who live in and call Utah home.
Like so many organizations and small businesses, the swift and indiscriminatory spread of the Coronavirus affected many aspects of the day to day operations at the Center—pausing our in-person services accessed by thousands of community members, hamstringing our finances, and ultimately causing the cancellation of the annual Utah Pride Festival and Parade. The Festival accounts for a substantial portion of the Center’s annual operating budget, and the need to cancel it for public safety had an immediate and direct burden to the Center’s finances. As such, the Board of Directors and Executive Director made some difficult decisions to mitigate loss in order to continue the Center’s mission going forward and serving our community today, tomorrow, and in the future. We knew these decisions were tough and would be felt for the unforeseeable future. What we did not anticipate was the undue ridicule placed on the Center by a small yet vocal group of individuals. We are here to dispute any wrongdoing and list our justification for these decisions. As always, the Board of Directors takes all allegations against staff, volunteers and clients seriously, and responds accordingly to protect our community from those who wish to see us harmed.
As announced on June 10, 2020, the Board of Directors approved a Restructuring Plan that included changes to departments and a reduction in our workforce. We understand these positions where held by people with faces and names who poured their hearts and souls into the Center’s mission and LGBTQ+ community, and we are forever grateful for their work and accomplishments achieved on behalf of everyone in our community. But at the end of the day, the biggest expense at the Utah Pride Center is staff salaries and the Board of Directors had to dig deep and review each expense line item to see where cuts could be made to keep the doors open. With the rapidly evolving reality of our situation and uncertain economic and social future we are all facing, we know that our world and our Center would look different than it did just a few months ago.
On May 27, 2020 shortly after the first reduction in staff, The Utah Pride Center received a letter of complaint from one of the staff members that was part of the reduction. Among the many false allegations the letter claimed, it questioned the Center’s HR practices, financial management, and contained other serious allegations against individuals specifically named. The author of the letter disseminated it to the Board of Directors and Center staff simultaneously, seemingly with the intent to sow seeds of distrust. As we would with any serious complaint, the Board of Directors quickly moved to conduct an independent audit of all allegations listed in the complaint letter. Due to HR policies protecting worker’s privacy and rights, we are not able to provide some details but the independent auditor found no wrongdoing by the leadership of the Center, as the letter had argued, and you can read that review here:
The Board of Directors have a legal fiduciary responsibility to the Center—duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience—a responsibility each member takes seriously. Conflict of Interest forms are signed each year, monthly financials are reviewed at each monthly meeting, and the Board takes an active role in the annual budgeting and planning process. When things change that affect the finances, the Board acts to ensure the viability of the Center. When times are good, staff are rewarded and hired; when times are hard, reduction in workforce may occur. The Board of Directors stands firm in our commitment to help the Center prosper for the benefit of our LGBTQ+ community.
Since receipt of the complaint letter, the Board has taken the following actions:
- Reviewed all allegations contained in the letter and took action to ascertain truth from fiction.
- Hired an independent auditor, legal counsel, and an Information Technology Consultant to research all allegations and compile a summary report, which was presented to the Board (see above).
- Required the Executive Director draft a response letter to each allegation detailed in the letter, which has since been disseminated to key parties as was legally permissible.
- Honestly and transparently answered all questions requested by public and press related to the complaint letter.
- Has published a response letter (this letter) on our website.
Honesty and transparency are top priority for the Utah Pride Center and the Board of Directors now and in the future, and we know our community deserves no less. To declare otherwise is simply not true, and we stand by this statement.
Like all of us, the Utah Pride Center looks forward to the day when public life returns to normal and when we can open our doors and operate at full capacity once again. We welcome your feedback and questions, and may direct any correspondence to email@example.com
Proudly serving our LGBTQ+ community,
Utah Pride Center, Board of Directors
State of The Center - April 17th, 2020
Utah Pride Center Director, Rob Moolman, talks about the State of The Center after one month of COVID-19.
2020 Pride Festival Postponed
Pride isn’t just a parade or a festival in June. Pride is in us all!
[Salt Lake City, UT – March 31st, 2020] In an effort to keep everyone safe and allow the tens of thousands of people who enjoy the annual event to attend, the 2020 Utah Pride Festival is being moved to the end of September. The Pride Days theme for 2020 is Love On, Live On – our hope is that we can all focus on this message as we move through these uncertain times with optimism for better days to come!
The 2020 Utah Pride Festival presented by Mark Miller Subaru & Young Automotive Subaru and the Utah Pride Parade presented by Intermountain Healthcare & SelectHealth and all of the related Pride Days events have been postponed due to imminent mass-gathering restrictions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. This decision was made based on Governor Gary Herbert’s “Utah Leads Together Plan” and in consultation with our local public health sector.
The new dates for the Utah Pride Festival and Parade are September 26-27, 2020. As usual, the March and Rally, OUTdoors and Proud 5K, and the Festival Opening Ceremony will happen on Saturday. The Pride Parade and final day of the Festival in Washington Square will occur on Sunday.
“With all the uncertainty and stress we’re all feeling due to this pandemic, let’s have Pride last all summer long, culminating with the biggest turn out we’ve ever seen at the Pride Festival in September. I think we could all use more love and Pride this year.” said Rob Moolman, Executive Director, Utah Pride Center.
If you haven’t already signed up to participate in this year’s fabulous festival, applications have been extended! Parade applications have been extended to May 1st and early-bird pricing for vendor booths has been extended to April 17th for the first 50 finalized booths. Currently registered Festival vendors and Parade entrants will have the option to participate on the new dates or receive a refund minus any application fees. For more details on these options, please visit the Utah Pride Center’s COVID-19 updates page here.
As always, we continue to offer support to our LGBTQ+ Community and allies at the Utah Pride Center. We will continue to monitor and follow any public health directives and update accordingly. In the meantime, we look forward optimistically to celebrating with you in September. Even as we have temporarily closed the doors of our building, we are responding to the needs of many of the most vulnerable individuals in our communities. For an update on our current operations, including virtual programming and mental health services visit https://www.utahpridecenter.org
The Utah Pride Center unites, empowers and celebrates Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community by providing a safe and welcoming space for education, partnerships, services and events which advance our collective health, wellness and success.
When we get through April we will be able to re-assess a new date to open our doors once more, in alignment with the recommendations of the CDC and the Utah Department of Health. We are looking forward to seeing all of you in person once more! Remember that while our physical space is closed, we are still here for you digitally. Most of our groups and programs conducting virtual meetings. Our mental health team is still conducting groups and individual therapy sessions remotely as well. And the new Utah Pride Center Lobby group is a great place to stay connected with your community during this time too! Remember that we are still here for you, and we still love you. Stay safe, and take care of yourselves and one another. 💜
Effective immediately, your Utah Pride Center is putting into effect a plan of action in regard to COVID-19/coronavirus. Our obligation to our community is to be present for you while simultaneously considering the safety of our community members in light of what the W.H.O. has declared a pandemic.
Our full plan is available in the images below this message, but to summarize:
- There will be a 30-day hiatus on events, including but not limited to the Queer Food Festival, The Sun Revisited, and Queer Prom. These will be postponed and rescheduled.
- All in-person programming at the Center is postponed effective immediately. Please reach out to the group coordinator for information on web/online opportunities to continue to participate.
- We are going to make sure the individuals receiving mental health services through us are still able to receive that life-saving work. Please contact your individual therapist for options on how to access your therapy sessions during this period.
We greatly appreciate your understanding. We are not leaving you– we are still here for you, and will continue to be. Stay safe, and take care of yourselves and others.