Oakland Pride is delighted to partner with The Queer Gym and Oaklandish to present Run Gurl! The Official Oakland Pride 5k on Saturday, September 10th.  100% of the profits from this event will be donated to charitable organizations that support the local LGBTQI community.  

This is the only 5K event sanctioned by Oakland Pride.

The planning of this year's event began in early February 2016 when we were approached by the team at the Queer Gym who expressed an interest to participate in the 5K Run as a major sponsor.  We were caught off guard.  To our knowledge, Oakland Pride had not hosted any 5K event in the past. 

However, the team at The Queer Gym insisted that they had indeed participated in an an 'Official Oakland Pride' event in 2015 -- and would welcome the opportunity to do so again in 2016 in a greater capacity.  At that point, Oakland Pride decided to hold off on planning any event until we had more information.

After some research, we learned that an organization, Spectrum Queer Media led by Monica Anderson, had indeed hosted an event using the Oakland Pride name in 2015.  Oakland Pride, however, was NOT a recipient of any of the funds generated by that event nor was Oakland Pride involved in the planning, marketing or execution of that event.  Ms. Anderson had simply used the Oakland Pride name to promote her event.

Given that we had worked with Monica's organization on her film festival event in the past and she is a respected member of our LGBTQ family in Oakland, we asked the team at The Queer Gym to delay planning anything until we could reach Monica and gauge her interest in doing an event in 2016.  We reached out to Monica Anderson multiple times via phone and email in early 2016.

There was no response.  

In fact, there was no response from Monica until mid-July 2016 --  when Monica learned that Oakland Pride had moved forward with the event with other sponsors.  When we didn't hear from Monica after a few months, we decided to work with the organizers who were interested.  Planning meetings were held.  Site visits were organized.  The permits were approved by the City of Oakland.  The Parks and Recreation Department was notified.  The marketing for the 5K event was released in early May.  Tickets were sold.

To be fair, once Monica resurfaced and we were informed that she was interested in planning an event of her own, we invited her to join the existing 5K Event Team and collaborate with us.  In our opinion, we could all have greater success if we combined our efforts and all worked together. 

She refused. 

We made several attempts to find a suitable compromise.  Instead of a dialogue, however, she presented us with a list of unrealistic demands, one of which was that the event be an exclusively 'Black LGBTQ event' and that all the other committed sponsors step aside.  That is not in the spirit of Oakland Pride's values; our events are always inclusive of all nationalities, races, and genders.  We also include our straight allies.  Oakland Pride is fully inclusive and does not discriminate on any level for any reason.

We offered Monica multiple opportunities for a partnership, including hosting a second 'Sunset 5k Run' later in the day or hosting an event at another location at the same time -- we were more than willing to work with her in addition to working with The Queer Gym and Oaklandish, who had been planning their event since February.

Ms Anderson rejected all reasonable solutions.

Her ongoing hostility, disrespect, and unwillingness to collaborate with the people who have been working for months to bring this event to the community is disappointing.  However, her continued lies, aggression and mistruths to the public have been destructive and have blemished the collective spirit of Oakland Pride.

For Monica, it seems that this is solely about 'winning'.  It's not about collaboration.  It's not about community.  It's not about 'Oakland Pride'.  She has demonstrated through her words and actions that she has ill-intentions for anyone who does not submit to her specific terms.  She has tried to strong-arm the existing event which was planned months ago with false petitions and mistruths.  Her personal attacks on our board members, sponsors, volunteers and participants is something that we simply will not tolerate. 

Oakland Pride cannot support a bully in any capacity. We cannot support anyone who puts their personal ego above the good of the community.  We certainly cannot allow the Oakland Pride organization to be hijacked and used for a purpose that is not completely positive and in line with the values of our entire LGBTQI community.  We wish her the best in her endeavors, but we ask again that she refrain from hosting any events in the name of Oakland Pride.

Monica Anderson does not represent Oakland Pride now or in the future.