Home / US / NYC Pride will take steps to keep the police out of parades and events.

NYC Pride will take steps to keep the police out of parades and events.

New York City’s annual Pride celebration, which began 51 years ago to commemorate the anti-police uprising and evolve into the city’s sanctioned rally for equality, will be working to reduce its presence. Law enforcement in various events

Starting this year, police and correctional officers will not be allowed to take part in the annual Pride march until at least 2025.The ban includes the Gay Officers Action League, an LGBTQ police organization. Which announced the news in a statement At Friday night

In addition, the New York Police Department will be asked to stay away from the brink of all self-incident incidents, including marches. They said the Heritage of Pride, which organized the event, would turn to private companies for security and safety, calling police officers in emergencies only when needed.

The decision, which organizers announced Saturday, followed years of pressure from some LGBTQ activists who insisted that law enforcement was out of place in the march, rooted in the 1969 anti-police riots outside Stonewall. The Inn in Manhattan also comes after similar decisions in other cities across the country.

Brian Downey, chairman of the Gay Officers Action League, criticized the decision as exclusion, calling it “shameful” and “about sudden confrontation” in a statement.

“Their response to activist pressure is to take the streets low, preventing members of their community from celebrating their identity and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion. “Mr. Downey said.

The Pride organizers’ decisions reflect changing attitudes to urban security and the growing pressure on urban institutions to address long-standing complaints about diversity and inclusion. Together

Mainstream LGBTQ organizations have been criticized for decades as paying more attention to the concerns of certain groups than others, with transgender and black people saying advocacy often leaves them behind.

“The problem is, how do we keep Pride safe for the people who feel most marginalized and often refrain from discussing how Pride works?” Said Beverly Tillery, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project. Which is an LGBTQ rights group.

In the case of NYC Pride, the change was meant to address concerns voiced by some transgender, black and Latino people who said they felt insecure in the demonstrations in front of the police force. Set goals and fall victim to them on a regular basis.

NYC Pride has previously opposed calls to cut ties with the police. Calls for change escalated last summer following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and nationwide protests against police brutality that followed.

“The community really calls us an organization,” said André Thomas, one of NYC Pride’s co-chairs, “because they feel we don’t have to live up to our mission, ideals and higher standards.”

The change will not be felt immediately. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organizers switched most of their programming online. Although this year’s march is composed of a person But will be much smaller But it’s far from the luxurious floats and the crowd of the past.

Law enforcement will not be completely lost by the event of pride in the future and their scope. Officers are required to maintain security for public events, and as the police department issues some event permits, the organizers maintain their relations with the police.

“The mentality of the deprived officers is disheartening and countering our shared values ​​of inclusion and tolerance,” said Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie. That’s for traffic safety and good order during this big, complex event. ”

The steps to downgrading the role of security are transforming the debate about the spirit of events, their pride, and who they serve. As celebrations in big cities grow, some worry they have left protest-driven origins behind.

“We, as a startup organization, respond to police brutality,” said Thomas, “so we definitely have to be aware of that.”

From the inception of the modern LGBTQ movement, relations with the police were full. The 1969 rebellion at the Stonewall Inn, one of the key catalysts for the movement, was set by a police raid.

When thousands gathered in New York City in 1970 a year later in a rally to commemorate the day, they worried that officials might attack them along the way. Their fears that day were worthless. But anti-LGBTQ attitudes have remained in the police department for decades.

As the event gets bigger – receiving colorful corporate exhibits, huge crowds, and support from city leaders, the number of police officers stationed along the balloon path. They were gradually being viewed as hostile to security allies.

They became more active in their activities. When gay police officers first marched in uniform at a parade in 1996, they filed a claim for the right to do so, many viewed as a victory.

“Our goals and members have contributed to police reform and policy amendments related to the LGBTQIA + community in New York City,” Downey said in his statement.

But even when the viewpoint has changed But frustration over the existence of law enforcement at Pride persists, especially among black and transgender or non-gendered people.

“As the police presence at Pride has grown over the years, the majority of the marginalized members of our community who suffer the most from the police feel that Pride is not a safe place for them. Him, ”said Ms. Tillery of the Anti-Violence Project.

The Anti-Violence Program operates a 24-hour hotline for LGBTQ people to report violent incidents. Over the years, workers have received a series of calls during pride celebrations from people reporting harassment or brawls related to “the police who are supposed to protect them,” Ms Tillery. say

Activists, including members of the anti-violence program, have reported these incidents and concerns to Pride organizers.They pointed to other cities that banned uniformed police officers from their parades and urged New York to do so. Likewise

As recently as 2019, organizers against Part of the tension led to the creation of the Queer Liberation March, where uniformed officers were not allowed. At last year’s event, police clashed with protesters who said officers used pepper spray on them.

Pride co-chairman Thomas said the organizers had long considered themselves the event producer and viewed the police department as the “More safety measures”

But national scrutiny over the race and medical care that began following Mr Floyd’s killing sparked internal debate about Pride’s long relationship with police.

Meanwhile, community groups such as the Anti-Violence Program have made another push to reduce the police presence at Pride.

“It’s clear to the community that we need to take a different stand on these issues,” said Thomas.

After the town hall with community members and talking to activists, Heritage of Pride opted to take the approach they took to police officers as a last resort.

The Pride organizers are committed to the pursuit of a private security company committed to inclusion. They will work to train companies on best practices in interacting with LGBTQ and minority communities, Thomas said.

The Pride Heritage is also said to provide downgrade training which seeks to cover up potential confrontations for the volunteers.

David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said organizers have opened the door to change. But they have to take responsibility for themselves.

“This kind of change is necessary and difficult,” said Johns, who advises the Pride of Pride, “and when they are done, they often don’t get the support that helps people through the process. From time to time “

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