A Letter to the Delta Foundation

June 4, 2015

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

Dear Mr. Van Horn,

I am writing on behalf of the Unitarian Universalists of Greater Pittsburgh, comprised of 11 congregations and over 1100 Unitarian Universalists in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. With all 11 congregations certified as "Welcoming Congregations" by the Unitarian Universalist Association, we have consistently been ardent supporters for LGBTQ rights and the LGBTQ community, guided by our first principle that affirms the worth and dignity of every person. We envision a world where justice, equity, and compassion exist for everyone, and where all people are treated equally. We are committed to supporting an environment within the Pittsburgh region that is inclusive, safe, and supportive of the entire LGBTQ community and where all people can be proud of who they are.

Our members have been organizers and participants in a variety of local LGBTQ organizations and events, and for many years have proudly participated in the June Pride March produced by the Delta Foundation. This event has a rich history and we have been planning all year and looking forward to participating on June 14. We are saddened by the current controversy surrounding Delta Foundation, Pittsburgh Pride, and the Pride March. There have been considerable concerns expressed around Delta's leadership and management, lack of inclusiveness, and disregard for some LGBTQ people. Many Unitarian Universalists are struggling with how these factors affect our commitment to be part of the Pride March. Some wish to withdraw completely from all Delta-sponsored Pride activities. Some have advocated for instead supporting Roots Pride. Some want to march but use the platform to protest. We want to communicate how profoundly disappointed we are that this controversy has distracted us and so many organizations from the real work of advocacy and advancement.

There are 10 days left until the 2015 Pride March. We encourage Delta Foundation to use this time to engage with Roots Pride, Black Pride and other groups who have felt marginalized and who are organizing alternative events as a response to these concerns. We feel it is important that Delta demonstrate goodwill and a willingness to create a larger umbrella for the Pittsburgh Pride celebration. It would be our hope that these events, which ultimately provide more opportunities for expressions of LGBTQ support, could be welcomed by Delta and that groups such as ours would not be forced to "choose sides" when all sides should be working towards common goals.

Our congregations will have a forum on Sunday June 7 for sharing viewpoints, listening, discussing, and learning, with the hope that we can arrive at a better understanding of our differences, common ground, and the next steps we will take together. Our participation in this and future years events is under consideration and relies on Delta's ability to understand and address the ways it has failed some in the LGBTQ community and your efforts to rebuild relationships and trust. We would like to have a better understanding of Delta's position and invite your response.


Mark Tomlinson
Unitarian Universalists of Greater Pittsburgh