Abegweit Rainbow Collective restructuring

Group that mounts Pride Week will split into two organizations

Mitch MacDonald comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 4, 2014

Doreen Wall left and Shawna MacAusland, both members of the Abegweit Rainbow Collective, serve up some cake at the party in the park after the parade.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

A massive party capping off 2014 Pride Week on Prince Edward Island was bittersweet for Abegweit Rainbow Collective co-chair Shawna MacAusland.

MacAusland and several other members of the group, which spearheads Pride Week on P.E.I., have announced their intention to resign from the board.

MacAusland said she had mixed emotions of relief and sadness during the Pride in the Park event at Victoria Park Saturday.

She said she has decided to resign in order to put more time into her family and career.

"These functions are put together by very few people so it's a lot of commitment for a volunteer position," said MacAusland, who has been on the board for four years and also has two young children.

MacAusland will attend one more meeting before her fellow co-chair Tyler Murnaghan begins heading the board.

Murnaghan, who became co-chair before last year's Pride Week, said remaining board members appreciate the work MacAusland and others have put into the organization.

"It's been a little rough knowing she's leaving but I know she won't be leaving for good," said Murnaghan. "She's got two kids and I understand why she's doing it. It's hard to be mad when it's for a very good reason."

While she'll be leaving the board, MacAusland said she's going to continue attending Pride events.

"I'm always going to be just as passionate about being supportive for my community, that's not going to go away."

The departure of MacAusland and four of the board's nine members has also led the group to consider restructuring, said Murnaghan.

Part of that will include splitting the collective into two groups, as well as having a chair and vice-chair rather than two co-chairs.

"There's going to be a lot more changes coming soon," he said. "Pride Week is definitely a full-time job so we're going to be looking at an organization just for Pride P.E.I."

He said another group will operate with a more overall, year-round scope.

Both co-chairs described the past week on P.E.I. as one where the larger community also came together to support Pride Week.

MacAusland said she hopes that support continues.

"I hope that the community really picks up any slack that, if our board happens to dissolve, events like these will still happen and that the community will take it upon themselves to just show support every Pride Week."