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CSW/LA Pride turns over solidarity march to new All Black Lives Matter

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After nearly two weeks of controversy, the Christopher Street West/LA Pride Board of Directors announced they are turning over their proposed June 14 solidarity march to All Black Lives Matter, an advisory board of Black LGBTQI+ activists and community leaders. 

The initial announcement by CSW/LA Pride on June 3, “to peacefully assemble a protest in solidarity with the Black community […]” rankled Black activists and allies who labeled it insensitive and tone-deaf, disrespecting the Black community, especially LGBTQI+ people of color. The now deleted press release suggested that CSW/LAPride had conferred with Black Lives Matter, which it had not. 

Several activists took to Twitter blasting the CSW/LAPride announcement. This included community organizer and prominent blogger Jasmyne Cannick, a former board member of LA Black Pride, who had led numerous protests against the City of West Hollywood and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey over their handling of the Ed Buck case. Buck is currently on trial for contributing to the drug-related overdose deaths of two Black men.

LAPride wants to show solidarity w/Black folk—and Black folks want that—they can come to where Black folks live. Don’t invite Black folks into anti Black spaces. Y’all had a well known and loved serial killer of Black men in #WeHo for years,” Cannick tweeted.

On Friday, June 5, CSW/LA Pride released a statement on their website apologizing for what the organization characterized as a “misstep” and announced that the organization was “reevaluating” its decision to move forward with the planned protest march.

On Monday, June 8, CSW/LA Pride apologized directly to BLM organizers and announced that it was in the process of turning over direct control of the protest march to the Black LGBTQI+ advisory board, which released a public letter that reads in part;

[…] The Advisory Board is not working with CSW on pre-march rally programming but will serve as an independent body creating a program aimed at amplifying the voices of the Black community and allies. Additionally, in tandem, we will engage Black-owned businesses to help support and put this peaceful march together

We recognize systemic racism, implicit bias, and privilege permeates this country, and this includes the history of our organization. We hope to see progress and start with change from within. With that, CSW/LA Pride will no longer be involved in organizing what will not be known as the All Black Lives Matter march on Sunday, June 14, 202, but we are in full support. We will be there and hope the LGBTQ+ community will as well.

The CSW Board members who conceived the idea for the march began speaking with Black LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations in advance of the announcement, however, they had not been able to align directly with BLM leaders prior to the announcement. For that, we apologize to the BLM organizers. Conversations did continue and grew to later include leaders from BLM LA, and, subsequently, an Advisory Board of Black LGBTQ+ leaders has formed to lead the upcoming All Black Lives Matter LA and solidarity march.”

The Los Angeles Blade spoke via phone to two of the community activists who had direct knowledge of the events that transpired prior to Monday’s announcement. They participated in a Thursday, June 4 telephone conference call regarding the previous day’s announcement by CSW/LA Pride.

According to activist Mackenzie MacDade, she asked if the parade was a “Rainbow Co-Dependency Parade” designed to bolster CSW/LA Pride’s corporate sponsors and donors. MacDade also indicated that CSW/LA Pride promised direct engagement with the activist community, including having activists included in polling over the weekend of June 6 to garner support and feedback about moving forward with the march. She told the LA Blade that the poll never happened.

Marquita Thomas told the LA Blade that she and others on the call insisted on greater transparency from CSW/LA Pride. However, she felt as though concerns about the structure and execution of the protest march were not being adequately addressed. Thomas indicated that she received no followup on the poll nor had CSW/LA Pride reached out again since the Thursday call.

The Board of Directors of CSW/LA Pride posted the following statement regarding plans for the protest march going forward:

June 7, 2020, an Advisory Board, made up of all Black LGBTQ+ leaders was formed to move forward in organizing the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march on Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 10:00am PT in Los Angeles. The protest is in direct response to racial injustice, systemic racism, and all forms of oppression.

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera bravely started a movement at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. They stood up to systemic racism and bigotry. We must acknowledge and recognize the many tireless years of service and action by Black LGBTQ+ people. The LGBTQ+ community must extend its support to unite against oppression, police brutality, racism, transphobia, and the many other disparities disproportionately impacting the Black community.

We are here to amplify Black Queer voices and come together in solidarity. Endorsed by BLM-LA and the Black Advisory Board, the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march aims to bring the community together to peacefully exercise our First Amendment rights and heal together.

Out of recognition and respect to the years of work and action of Black LGBTQ+ leadership and community organizers, Christopher Street West and LA Pride will no longer co-organize the All Black Lives Matter march. However, they are in full support and stand unapologetically in solidarity with efforts to dismantle racial justice, systemic oppression, institutional barriers, police brutality and discrimination of all kinds.

The Advisory Board will neither engage corporate sponsors from or through CSW nor official police involvement in organizing the All Black Lives Matter march. For the All Black Lives Matter solidarity march on Sunday, June 14, 2020, we recognize the safety concerns around COVID-19 and the pandemic currently plaguing the nation, and disproportionately the Black and LGBTQ+ communities, and ask protesters to take protective measures, including wearing face coverings and avoiding large crowds if you are at high risk or displaying symptoms of COVID-19. California Department of Public Health recommendations can be found here.

For press inquiries or more information, contact: [email protected]

Respectfully,

Black Advisory Board

Gerald Garth, Garth Management Group,

LLC Brandon Anthony, B.A.S.H LA

Pastor Sammie Haynes, Vision Church Los Angeles

Paul Scott. LA Black LGBTQ Movement

Princess Murray, Compton Pride

Dr. Christopher Jackon, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles

Stacy Alford, MPH

Yuriel “Miss. Shalae” Young, The Glasswing Group

Blossom Brown

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through West Hollywood on Saturday and faced a heavily armored Los Angeles Country Sherrif’s Department. (Photo by Troy Masters)

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Pride Special

Boys & Girls Club of Malibu encourages youth embrace diversity for Pride

“Pride is an opportunity to encourage youth to celebrate differences in others & themselves, as our differences- make the world so beautiful”

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Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

MALIBU, Ca. – Throughout the year, the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu (BGCM) is focused on programs that highlight the importance of inclusion of all people. But, during the month of June, BGCM Pride activities have encouraged Club youth to embrace diversity.

According to staff it is BGCM’s objective to establish safe spaces and ensure that all are not just invited, but belong. Pride is both a joyful celebration and a serious reminder that all people deserve the same rights, regardless of how one identifies.

Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

“Our youth have been participating in conversations around the importance of allyship. They are identifying and finding ways to rectify systematic disparities for those part of the LGBTQIA+ community, and encouraging others to have Pride in who they are and empowering themselves to be advocates for others,” said Tyler Hawkins, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director of Boys & Girls Club of Malibu. “Pride is an opportunity to encourage youth to celebrate the differences in others and themselves, as our differences are what make the world so beautiful.”

Pride Month Programming at Boys & Girls Club of Malibu includes:

  • “Fireside chats” talking about how to define and discuss what pride is and explain why we celebrate. Children are encouraged to think about who they are as a person and find pride in who they are. The goal is to teach the youth about acceptance and love for all people.
  • Club kids participated in art projects related to Pride, such as creating their own flags which could be in any color or design that resonated with them and they wrote at least one thing on each line that they are proud of themselves about.
  • Club youth also had the opportunity to participate in a reading of “Love Makes the Family” by Sophia Beer. The book talks about how families look different and how we all come from different backgrounds, and we should embrace what makes us unique.
  • Club teens also learned how to advocate for those in the LGBTQIA+ community and researched the different ways that can be done. The students were provided with information about how the LGTBQIA+ community are impacted negatively by limited access to resources, discrimination, stereotypes and more, and then students created posters to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and discussed how they can address issues for that community.
  • Pride Month at BGCM wrapped with a celebration for the kids to feel proud about who they are as individuals. They dressed up in whatever makes them feel good about themselves and listened to music, danced and enjoyed some colorful shaved ice.
  • The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu also has a clinician-staffed Wellness Center that has helped many Club youth and their families. Since 2017, the BGCM Wellness Center has served 5,000+ individuals and families, at no cost. The Center provides services such as mental health counseling, trauma-informed case management, social and emotional learning, healthcare assistance, parenting support groups, student workshops and much more. Any member of the Malibu community can access the Wellness Center – from students and teachers to senior citizens and commuters that work in Malibu, but don’t have residency there. The Center’s services are also offered in Spanish, which is crucial considering around 20% of its clients are Spanish speaking.
Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

Four members of the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu expressed what this type of environment and learning programs meant.

“To me, Pride is celebrating who you are and feeling safe to come out,” said Briana L., 7th grade. A fellow 7th grader, Delilah M. said, “It’s important to uplift people with diverse identities to make them feel safe and included in their community.”

Photo Credit: Boys & Girls Club of Malibu

Older students such as Emily P., a high school junior and high school senior Aiza R. noted the impact on their lives and others. “To me, Pride means being happy that you can express who you are. It’s important to uplift people with diverse identities because many have been oppressed for so long, so it’s important to take time to celebrate uniqueness and recognize precious struggles,” said Aiza.

Emily chimed in saying, “Pride means being proud of who you are. Uplifting people from diverse backgrounds is important because it breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for relationships that can help people grow and be who they are.”

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Pride Special

South American LGBTQ+ activists mark Pride Month

The Movement for Homosexual Integration & Liberation & Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration- 100,000 people participated

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More than 100,000 people attended a Pride protest in Santiago, Chile, on June 25, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Gonzalo Velásquez)

SANTIAGO, Chile – Activists in Chile and across Latin America on June 25 took to the streets to celebrate Pride Month.

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) and Fundación Iguales in Chile organized a demonstration in Santiago, the country’s capital, in which more than 100,000 people participated. March organizers demanded the repeal of Article 365 of the Chilean Penal Code that criminalizes same-sex couples.

Movilh member Felipe Castillo explained “Article 365 of the Penal Code stigmatizes and discriminates against young homosexuals, as it sets 18 years as the age of sexual consent, when for heterosexuals it is 14 years.”

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked Chile to repeal Article 365. The country has committed to eliminate the law in an agreement it signed with Movilh in 2016 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Chile’s marriage equality law took effect on March 10, the day before President Gabriel Boric took office. 

New Colombia president a sign of hope for LGBTQ, intersex activists

LGBTQ and intersex activists in Colombia are looking forward to what will be a new political era after former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro won the second round of the country’s presidential elections on June 19. Petro, along with his running mate, Vice President-elect Francia Márquez, who will be the country’s first vice president of African descent, will be the first leftist executives in Colombian history.

A source in Bogotá, the Colombian capital, told the Washington Blade that Petro during the campaign pledged to fight violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and to implement policies “for the reaffirmation of gender identities and sexual orientation without barriers for all non-binary people and transgender people in Colombia.”

Manuel Velandia, a long-time Colombian LGBTQ and intersex activist who organized the country’s first demonstration in support of queer rights 39 years ago, told the Blade that authorities sent a contingent of 100 police officers and “we — 29 gay men, two lesbian women and a transsexual woman — marched.”

“The march could take place because in Colombia it was a crime to be homosexual and we achieved the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Penal Code,” said Velandia.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Bogotá on June 25 to demand a nationwide LGBTQ and intersex strategy “as a measure to guarantee the rights of this population, combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics (OSIEGCS), and eliminate the barriers that persist for the materialization of the rights acquired by judicial means, according to national and international human rights standards.” 

Velandia explained to the Blade that activists are “writing a document of what we expect from the next government from president’s inauguration and during the first 100 days.”

“We now are focusing on the most priority issues,” said Velandia. “We think that a law that comes out of a ministry is not as important as a national law passed by Congress.”

Additional Pride marches will take place in Bogotá in the coming days.

Peruvian activists hold country’s largest-ever Pride march

The largest Pride march in Peru’s history took place on June 25 in Lima, the country’s capital.

“It has been the largest march in the 20 years of history of this massive activity,” activist Jorge Apolaya told the Blade. “[It was a] joyful rebellion, as we call it.”

Apoyala pointed out activists took to the streets because “it is necessary” for Peru and President Pedro Castillo’s government to act on “the demands of the LGBT population, the gender identity law, the equal marriage law that are pending before respective committees in the Congress of the Republic and generate the necessary discussions so that they can be debated.”

According to the activist, “the country continues to remain at the back door with respect to respect for LGBT human rights in the world, but not even in the world, but at the Latin American level.”

Protests prompt cancellation of many Ecuador Pride events

Protests that have taken place across Ecuador for more than two weeks prompted activists to suspend most activists and demonstrations in favor of LGBTQ and intersex rights that had been scheduled to take place this month.

“There are seven Prides that have already been suspended out of those that were scheduled,” Diane Rodríguez, a prominent Ecuadorian activist, told the Blade.

Rodríguez noted two marches in the cities of Santo Domingo and Loja were able to take place on Saturday.

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Pride Special

Roe ruling outrage marks NYC Pride

Tens of thousands protested Roe ruling on Friday night

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The New York City Pride parade passes down Christopher Street in Manhattan's West Village on June 26, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Sean Robinson)

NEW YORK — New York City Pride, one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, rang in the weekend with equal parts celebration and protest. 

Although the annual Pride march was on Sunday, the entire weekend was filled with an outpouring of public anger in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Protesters took to the streets of Manhattan on Friday with an estimated 17,000 people gathering to protest the ruling, which made abortion imminently illegal in roughly half of states. At least 25 people were arrested at the Friday night protests, which spread from Washington Square Park through Midtown to Bryant Park. 

In light of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision — which advocates say will harm members of the LGBTQ+ community — NYC Pride announced that Planned Parenthood would kick off Sunday’s Pride march as the first group to walk. In their statement, NYC Pride said that “[The Supreme Court’s] dangerous decision puts millions in harm’s way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy.” 

“As millions gather for LGBTQIA+ Pride this weekend in New York City and cities across the country, our voices will be heard — for the LGBTQ people impacted and the millions with whom we stand in solidarity,” read the statement. “Pride was born of protest and will always be a space to fight injustice and discrimination. Join us as we advocate for bodily autonomy at this year’s NYC Pride March.” 

In addition to the march; NYC Pride had a full slate of Pride programming during the week leading up to it, including Pride Island at Governor’s Island, Youth Pride and a human rights conference. Queer clubs and bars throughout the city hosted various Pride-themed events throughout the weekend.

NYC Pride was not the only organization mobilizing this weekend. 

Reclaim Pride NYC hosted a “Queer Liberation March for Trans and BIPOC Freedom, Reproductive Justice, and Bodily Autonomy,” in partnership with pro-choice groups and community organizations. 

“The [Queer Liberation March] is the annual people’s protest march without corporate funding; corporate floats; politicians’ grandstanding; or police control or involvement,” said the Reclaim Pride Coalition. 

Although Pride originated from a moment of violent tension between police and LGBTQ+ people at the Stonewall Inn, officers on Sunday carefully patrolled the entire NYC Pride march route. When the apparent sound of gunshots nearly sparked a stampede in Washington Square Park during the parade, the New York Police Department said there were “no shots fired,” later confirming that the sounds were due to fireworks being set off at the park. 

The Washington Post noted fears of violence against the queer community circulated at Pride celebrations across the country.

Police also responded to reports of a shooting at San Francisco Pride, although no suspects or witnesses were found. In light of the epidemic of gun violence — from last month’s elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in 2016 that left 49 people dead — a fear of active shooters and widespread public anger at the prospect of less rights characterized Pride’s usually jubilant atmosphere.

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