Santa Fe is in store for something unusual for a city of its size: two different Pride events.
The city’s Human Rights Alliance, a registered nonprofit chaired by a volunteer board of directors, has put on Pride every year since 2000. This year’s festival is no exception, headlining with a downtown parade and an afternoon party on the Plaza this coming Saturday for the first time in five years.
But recently, HRA made its followers aware of another event bearing the same name. The other event, called the Santa Fe Pride Street Festival, is scheduled that same Saturday at 5pm outside the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
“In the interest of full disclosure, the Santa Fe Pride Street Festival has nothing to do with Santa Fe Pride, or the HRA,” reads an oddly passive-aggressive Facebook post on June 17 by Santa Fe Pride. “We [can’t] stop anyone from calling their event a Pride event, but we want those who are interested in supporting the HRA, our LGBT scholarship program, or the 5k Pride run to know that funds generated from the street fair, the BMW raffle, or the event at the Convention Center, has nothing to do with Santa Fe Pride, or the HRA.”
The man behind the street festival is Dominic Silva, who briefly helped HRA prepare for Pride earlier this year until he had a falling out with the board members over fundraising for the event. Originally, he was going to organize an after-party for HRA’s Pride but says he stopped when it became clear the alliance wasn’t interested in throwing an after-party.
“There’s no pressure on any of the board members to raise any money,” he says. “What I saw was just a lot of egos. I didn’t want to be a part of that.”
Celedina Coss, HRA’s vice-president, maintains that the board tried to coordinate with Silva to make an after-party event work, but it didn’t pan out.
“Silva was raising money for his event and we needed money for the whole event,” she says. “It’s not that we didn’t want to help.”
Santa Fe Pride needs at least $20,000 to operate, which Coss says is a hefty fundraising task for a volunteer board of directors. She adds that the board wrote the Facebook post after hearing from people who donated to the street festival and thought their money was going to HRA.
“We don’t have a trademark with the name ‘Pride,’ so anybody can throw ‘Pride’ into their name,” Coss says, explaining that donations to her organization are tax deductible because of HRA’s nonprofit status.
But Silva says he’ll be lucky to break even from the street festival and the Convention Center party that he’s organizing. His events will cost $12,000 to put on, and he adds that his donors are completely aware that their money is going to a for-profit venture.