The decision by LA Pride to plan a protest against police brutality alongside police is raising questions and concerns among Black leadership who were not consulted about the plans, as well as from those in the LGBTQ+ community suspicious of any coordination with police following a week of protests that have gripped the nation.
"While I'm sure this was organized with the best of intentions, myself, Black leadership within Los Angeles, nor the Black Lives Matter movement organized this march, nor were we contacted about it," trans journalist and activist Ashlee Marie Preston said in a powerful video posted to Twitter.
\u201cProtests aren\u2019t solely about bringing in bodies. They\u2019re about bringing a message. If there\u2019s no clear message, there\u2019s no clear path toward victory. Always make sure you can identify the messenger. This mitigates the possibility of infiltration and derailment of a movement. #BLM\u201d
— Ashlee Marie Preston (@Ashlee Marie Preston)
On Wednesday, LA Pride had announced plans to peacefully assemble in Hollywood on Sunday, June 14, "in solidarity with the Black community." A release they wrote encouraged anyone planning to attend to wear face coverings at all time but said they would be protesting police brutality and oppression.
"We feel that it is our moral imperative to honor the legacies of Marsha P. Johnsona nd Sylvia Rivera, who bravely led the Stonewall uprising, by standing in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism and joining the fight for meaningful and long-lasting reform," they wrote in a release. Christopher Street West, which organizes LA Pride had previously cancelled all in-person events for 2020.
And while some in media and elsewhere applauded the pivot, many began to speak out. Preston criticized organizers for not involving the leadership of any Black organizations, to her knowledge, in the plans. Fran Tirado, former Out deputy editor, also had a critique.
"I've been informed LA Pride is, in fact, working with police for their so-called 'Black solidarity' march" they wrote to Twitter. "Attached is a screenshot of an event producer's letter to the LAPD underscoring 'a strong and unified partnership with law enforcement.' Homos, this is not it."
\u201cI've been informed @LAPride is, in fact, working with police for their so-called "Black solidarity" march. Attached is a screenshot of an event producer's letter to the LAPD underscoring "a strong and unified partnership with law enforcement." Homos, this is not it.\u201d
The letter that accompanied LA Pride's submission of a special event permit application noted the group's "strong and unified partnership with law enforcement" for their events over the last 50 years. Many in the community are calling for LA Pride to ensure there will be zero police coordination and presence given that the event is supposed to be in opposition to violence at the hands of this same force. Earlier this week footage showed them brutalizing many peaceful protestors and others who were out after curfew.
Some, like the musician Muna, have called for a boycott of the event.
For its part, LA Pride took to social media to assure their support for the Black community is "unwavering," and that they were "engaging Black community advocacy groups, Black LGBTQ+ organizations and community leaders to align on our mission and our objectives."