TRCF’s Open Letter to Delta Foundation

TRCF Logo with Tagline

100 North Braddock Avenue
Ste. 302
Pittsburgh, PA 15208
T 412-243-9250
F 412-243-0504
threeriverscommunity.org

 

Gary Van Horn
Delta Foundation
911 Galveston Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA  15233

 

Dear Mr. Van Horn,

 

Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) advances social change through grant making, advocacy and capacity development for grassroots agencies and other organizations. TRCF embraces Change not charityby empowering grantee organizations to ensure social, economic and environmental justice in Southwestern Pennsylvania. TRCF is aware of the 2015 “Pride in the Street” booking Iggy Azalea as the event headliner.  We are very troubled by this choice.  Ms. Azalea has been called out all over this nation – and the world – for homophobic, racist, and ableist tweets, and culturally appropriating comments, in addition to interviews in which she has perpetuated stereotypes of the indigenous people in her home country of Australia.  As already noted, TRCF funds and supports a diversity of social justice initiatives and groups, many of whom Ms. Azalea has chosen to offend.

 

The LGBTQ community of Pittsburgh and the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, specifically LGBTQ-identified people of color, have requested that Ms. Azalea be dropped from the “Pride in the Street” lineup due to her racist, homophobic, and ableist remarks.  We at TRCF not only support that action, but also their other requests for the Delta Foundation to devote this pivotal moment to an introspective look and to answer what it has done, in general, for the entire LGBTQ community and their rights.  Making a few grants here and there is not enough.  We recommend that your board undertake diversity training, for a start.

 

This incident with Ms. Azalea actually is yet one more example of a long list of non-supportive actions by the Delta Foundation. Indeed it is the proverbial “final straw that has broken the camel’s back” in the local QTPOC community.  The selection of Ms. Azalea reveals how little Delta Foundation cares about, or truly understands, the needs and concerns of this community.

 

The whole concept of Pride events began as a revolution and a demand for equal rights.  While you boast of having the largest Pride event in Western Pennsylvania, it means nothing if you are not standing for the entirety of the LGBTQ community – including those who have disabilities, are transgender, are gender non-conforming, are women, aren’t white, have little to no income – in other words, everyone.  The rainbow is big enough to hold all of us, so why do your events cater only to one particular segment?  It is time you listened to the other voices within our shared community of Pittsburgh.  It is not up to you to determine what performers are racist.  If communities of color are saying repeatedly that an act is offensive, you need to listen to them, change the act, sincerely apologize, and ask how you can ensure all voices are heard in the future.

 

We look forward to seeing the situation remedied, and to the day that the Delta Foundation truly acknowledges, celebrates, and advances the diversity of the LGBTQ community – and of our city and region – in the Foundation’s plans, actions, and events.

 

Sincerely,

The board and staff of Three Rivers Community Foundation

 

Board of Directors

Kathy Cameron
Kurt Colborn
Deno De Ciantis
Alice Del Vecchio, Treasurer
Jose Diaz
Katelyn Haas
Josh Inklovich
Lee Marcuzzi, President
Chris Maury, Vice President
Sarah F. Nicholas
Laura Saulle, Secretary
Rev. Sally Jo Snyder
Alison Wolfson

Staff

 

Nick J. Palazzetti, Ph.D., Executive Director
Anne E. Lynch, Manager of Operations
Sydney Olberg, Programs Manager