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Pride Board won't back down as crowdfunding gathers momentum

The president of the Auckland Pride Board says it won't be backing down on its decision to ban police in uniforms from taking part in the parade, despite the massive public backlash and several sponsors pulling out.

In an interview with RNZ's Kim Hill this morning, Cissy Rock said she understood why some individual police officers might feel hurt.

"But I've got to keep a bigger picture in mind that surrounds the whole community and the police as an institution and who it's not serving and we can't leave people behind."

Cissy Rock said next year's parade would still go ahead, despite several high-profile sponsors pulling out, including Rainbow New Zealand's Charitable Trust, the Ponsonby Business Association and Vodafone.

She said she was heartened by the grassroots community support in light of a crowdfunding campaign set up to reclaim next year's Auckland Pride Festival for the community.

It has raised more than $5600 from 96 donors after being set up yesterday in response to the police and corporate sponsors pulling out of the festival.

The Givealittle campaign aims to replace Pride's corporate funding with community money and was set up by a group called the Coalition for a truly inclusive Pride.

The Givealittle page said it is "a coalition of proud rainbow and takatāpui people, as well as allies and whānau who believe that we have an opportunity right now to create a better Pride, country and world. One that is based on true inclusion, healthy relationships, peace, equity and aroha."

"We are raising funds to help make Auckland Pride 2019 the best one yet. Together, we will show the Auckland Pride board and Auckland Pride's members that standing by the most marginalised in our rainbow community is the right thing to do and we fully support them."

The Auckland Pride board, after three months of consultation with LGBTQI community members, decided that the police could march in the parade next February so long as they aren't in uniform.

The board invited members of the police to march in plain or fancy clothes.

However, police said if they couldn't march in uniform they would not march at all, and their decision to withdraw from the parade has divided the LGBTQI community.

SkyCity is the latest organisation to withdraw support for the parade, joining Vodafone, BNZ, ANZ, Westpac, NZME, Fletcher Building, the Ponsonby Business Association, NZDF and the Rainbow New Zealand Trust.

The Coalition for a truly inclusive Pride said the Giveallittle funding would be gifted to the Auckland Pride Festival pending the results of next weekend's Special General Meeting, when Auckland Pride members will decide if the current board stays.

The coalition said if the Auckland Pride board was voted out, donations would be split "between a variety of organisations who work for a truly just and racially equitable Aotearoa where all members of the rainbow feel safe and loved".
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