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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Blaming the Messenger Will Not Fix the GLCCB’s Problems

I am writing this in response to GLCCB Board President Jabari Lyles’ statement concerning the article that I wrote for the Washington Blade and published on April 25.  He contends that the headline of the article—“Baltimore pride in jeopardy due to lack of funds” is “sensationalized” and the article is “irresponsibly constructed.”  
To be clear, the headline I had submitted to my editor read, “Community Center in need of funds to hold Pride.”  It was changed by the editor.  I saw nothing wrong with the revised headline because it captures the information that the GLCCB has been putting out.  I also stand by the facts contained in the article, which in actuality, is a regurgitation of what the GLCCB has said through various appeals.

When one states that “We will not be able to secure permits for Pride 2016 until this debt is paid”—in a published fundraising appeal—I and most people who can read would take that to mean, the debt must be paid for Pride to proceed.  It’s also said that “we are in desperate need of financial support.”  

On the Razoo fundraising page  a similar message is written: “Without these funds, we will be unable to move forward with Pride 2016.”  Mr. Lyles also makes the same claim on the GLCCB’s own Facebook page!
Now, Mr. Lyles is saying in effect, well this is not actually what we meant.  Really?  In his statement, Mr. Lyles contends that there is $65,000 on hand and another $35,000 due in a few weeks. The question begs, threatening that Pride cannot proceed if the outstanding debts aren’t paid was just a ruse to scare the community into giving donations?  To raise money under false pretenses is irresponsible if not fraudulent.  At a minimum, it’s not the way a 501(c) (3) organization should be running.

He also questioned my reporting of the $200,000 Pride budget.  Well, that came directly from the published board meeting notes. (See image).  If this is not true, perhaps they should review the minutes prior to publishing them.

If there are any misconceptions, they could have been clarified by comments by Mr. Lyles before the article was submitted and published.  With his oft-repeated mantra of “transparency,” it would be helpful to the GLCCB and himself if he can learn to work with the press as so many other able LGBT leaders have done in the past. 

However, Mr. Lyles has taken a path whereby he not only eschews working with me—the only bona fide local LGBT news reporter (I have performed this service for nearly 36 years)—he simply ignores my requests for comment.  That arrogance is irresponsible and does not serve the GLCCB and its supporters well. 

I had offered to meet with him a couple of months ago to discuss a working relationship that would be helpful both to the GLCCB and my ability to inform our community, but guess what?  He ignored that offer not once, but twice!

Instead of airing his grievances privately as any competent professional would do, Mr. Lyles chooses to vent on social media believing he can rally the troops against me.  However, that won’t result in commitments from the community the GLCCB “desperately” needs (their words).
The Razoo fundraising page had shown 3 donations for about 7 weeks since it began.  Since the article was published it has doubled to a whopping 6 people—out of the entire Mid-Atlantic region who would potentially attend Pride.  The total is at the moment $6,220 with a goal of $15,000 and three days left.  Of that amount, $6,000 came from a single donor the day the drive began. Five donors and $220.  If that isn’t a red flag, then I don’t know what is.

Go ahead, blame the messenger.  It’s not going to help one cent.  Jabari Lyles, you have much bigger problems.

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