Community leaders are searching for answers after a San Diego Pride executive was removed from his post.
Former San Diego Pride executive director Stephen Whitburn was fired by Pride board members a few weeks ago, and many questions from the local community have gone unanswered.
Pride confirmed with NBC 7 that 2016 has been a record-breaking year in terms of grants and events, and supporters of Whitburn believe that his leadership had a lot to do with it. They also have a feeling that personal issues among the board are what led to his firing after four successful years.
In a statement issued to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, the board said that “Stephen Whitburn was a beloved member of the Pride family, but we have parted ways at this time.”
No specific reasons behind his firing have been given, but one board member told NBC 7 that Pride “wanted to go in a different direction.”
The decision led several members of the LGBT community, and Civil Rights Activist the Reverend Shane Harris, to confront the board at its monthly meeting at Pride headquarters on Wednesday and demand his reinstatement. They are also calling for the resignation of some board members as a result of the controversy.
“There was a lot of shock that he was just let go unceremoniously,” former Pride board member Will Rodrigues-Kennedy said. “There are also a lot of concerns about the board operating in a transparent manner.”
Nicole Murray-Ramirez, one of the co-founders of San Diego Pride in 1974, told the National Action Network that the organization's current board is out of touch with the LGBT community.