Today, NYC Pride announced its new policies to address the presence of law enforcement and NYPD at Pride events in New York. The overall changes are embracing steps to create safer spaces for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at Pride events.
New York City’s Pride celebration has been one to marvel at, attend, and join in the celebration with old friends, new friends, and complete strangers. But we often forget that the first marches back in 1969 were to fight for our rights and to fight against police brutality. Now it seems we are coming full circle as NYC Pride joins in on the practice that has been growing over the past 4 years across North America where prides are taking steps to reduce the presence of law enforcement at any and all Pride events.
In a bold press release (see below), NYC Pride planners are banning police and corrections officers from participating as a group in the annual Pride march until at least 2025. With no stone unturned, this ban includes the Gay Officers Action League, an organization of L.G.B.T.Q. police. The group released a statement stating:
The Gay Officers Action League (“GOAL”) is disheartened by the decision to ban our group from participating in New York City Pride. Heritage of Pride (NYC Pride) has long been a valued partner of our organization and its abrupt about-face in order to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful. GOALNY.org
From the press release and the NY Times, we learn that, “The New York Police Department will also be asked to stay a block away from the edge of all in-person events, including the march. Heritage of Pride, which organizes events, will instead turn to private companies for security and safety, calling police officers in emergencies only when necessary.”
So why make this decision? Why now? As stated, there have been several communities across North America that have banned police participation in pride celebrations. Most are saying the decision was made because of the “pressure” from some LGBTQ+ Activists to make the change. Some of them are citing recent activity against the LGBTQ+ Community while others are saying there should be no police presence because of the root, the core, the reason the riots started 52 years ago. So if it is an older threat or a newer one or one that is constant, NYC Pride has made the change.
What is shared below is the press release from NYCPride.org. We will ask for your thoughts after the press release.
NYC Pride seeks to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate. The sense of safety that law enforcement is meant to provide can instead be threatening, and at times dangerous, to those in our community who are most often targeted with excessive force and/or without reason. NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community. The steps being taken by the organization challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward, in hopes of making an impactful change.
Effective immediately, NYC Pride will ban corrections and law enforcement exhibitors at NYC Pride events until 2025. At that time their participation will be reviewed by the Community Relations and Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion committees, as well as the Executive Board. In the meantime, NYC Pride will transition to providing increased community-based security and first responders, while simultaneously taking steps to reduce NYPD presence at events.
“This announcement follows many months of conversation and discussion with key stakeholders in the community. We would like to extend our thanks to the Anti-Violence Project which provided invaluable advice and counsel to help us take these important steps. We are also grateful for the contributions of David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, Anita Dolce Vita, Owner, Creative Director, and Editor-in-Chief of DapperQ, Shijuade Kadree, Principal and Founder, Compass Strategies Consulting, LLC, and Devin Norelle, model, advocate, and writer for their guidance in helping to inform these changes.” – NYC Pride Co-Chair André Thomas.
NYPD is not required to lead first response and security at NYC Pride events. All aspects of first response and security that can be reallocated to trained private security, community leaders, and volunteers will be reviewed. An increased budget for security and first response will allow NYC Pride to independently build a first response emergency plan using private security and provide safety volunteers with de-escalation training for first response when necessary. NYPD will provide first response and security only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials. In these instances, NYC Pride will review foreseeable NYPD involvement and, in partnership with surrounding venue precincts, take steps to keep police officers at least one city block away from event perimeter areas where possible.
NYC Pride does not currently mention, spotlight, interview, or otherwise promote law enforcement across its social media channels, digital content, Pride Guide, or any other owned media. As such, NYC Pride will not allow NYPD to speak at its events or use any NYC Pride platform. All changes related to police and NYPD will be communicated to volunteers, media, and third-party vendors to ensure enforcement beyond the 2020-2021 Pride season.
NYC Pride is also taking steps to increase the quality and quantity of partnerships with community-based organizations. This year’s roster of Pride events features a diverse group of speakers and presenters, and BIPOC influencers and organizations will continue to be at the forefront of NYC Pride’s social media platforms. The dedicated QPOC contingent of the NYC Pride March will be prominently featured this year and in future years thereafter. NYC Pride will also commit to increasing Black-led, Black-centered partnerships and establishing long-term vendor relationships with minority-owned businesses in an effort to uplift queer and BIPOC-centered organizations.
This year’s recipients of the Pride Gives Back Grant include a diverse group of organizations. More than $100,000 will be awarded to 18 organizations. 40% of Pride Gives Back Grants in the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year are going towards trans and nonbinary-owned, womxn-owned, and BIPOC nonprofits and initiatives. Over the next 5 years, NYC Pride will focus its efforts on giving to Trans, 2-spirit, gender non-conforming/non-binary, womxn owned, and BIPOC nonprofits and initiatives and award no less than 30% of its Pride Gives Back Grants to these groups. NYC Pride will also pledge physical volunteer time towards helping further these organizations’ missions, and work to create authentic partnerships between corporations and community organizations.
“We are extremely excited to continue the Pride Gives Back grant program this year. In 2021, we made a much more concerted effort to evaluate applicants based on a new set of criteria. Many of these organizations have never received a grant from us before, and bringing new partners into this program allows us to diversify our relationships and center a wider array of communities, especially those who have been historically marginalized, into the work we do every year.” – Kazz Alexander, Director of Community Relations
2021 Pride Gives Back Grant Recipients:
- Big Apple Performing Arts, Inc.
- Colectivo Intercultural TRANSgrediendo
- Drag Queen Story Hour Ltd.
- Equality New York
- Global Black Men Create
- Gotham Cheer
- Keeping Ballroom Community Alive
- Lifecycle Biking
- Mobilizing our Brothers Initiative
- National LGBT Cancer Network
- onePulse Foundation
- OutCycling Fearless Flyers
- Ring of Keys Coalition, Inc
- Rockland County Pride Center
- Soule Foundation
- Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls Inc
For more information about NYC Pride’s 2021 roster of events, visit: www.nycpride.org.
What are your thoughts Instincters?
– Is this the correct thing to do?
– Is this what PRIDE needs to be moving forward?
– Are the planners of NYC Pride on the right track with banning police presence and activity?
– Will your local pride do the same?