WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, May 8, the Capital Pride Alliance held a “Community Dialogue” in response to public criticism from No Justice No Pride (NJNP), GetEqual, and other groups. At the meeting, Capital Pride fielded questions and suggestions from the audience on a variety of issues, primarily: accepting corporate sponsorship from entities that harm our community and other communities; promoting and pinkwashing MPD which targets communities of color and transwomen; the rebranding of Pride as a celebration, not a protest in a period of extreme political repression; the board’s lack of meaningful community engagement and lack of diversity, and an overall lack of transparency at the organizational level.
The Capital Pride Board refused to make any concrete promises beyond “looking into” and “discussing” the myriad of issues articulated by an audience of nearly 200 community members — but only “after June 11,” the end of this year’s main Pride weekend. The community has heard these promises before, and claims that the Board members were “not aware” of community concerns are demonstrably false.
“Once again, Capital Pride has demonstrated that it is fundamentally unwilling to address its role in perpetuating systems of oppression that harm the communities it claims to represent,” said Emmelia Talarico, one of the lead organizers of NJNP and ResistThis, “Negotiation is clearly not working. It is time to escalate and create the Pride we want to see — one free of corporate sponsorship that does not collaborate with law enforcement, and is spearheaded by the most marginalized in our communities.”
While multiple Board members recognized the lack of diversity on the Board, all were silent amid calls for any white cis male Board members to step down so that others may step up. Executive Director Ryan Boss additionally promised that Casa Ruby would be invited to lead the parade this year, that more community groups would be able to participate without extortionate fees, and that Capital Pride would do more to support trans youth in the future.
“The issues of putting corporate donations over people or principle, cozying up to the police at the expensive of black and brown communities and the lack of inclusion of all LGBTQ experiences is not new to Pride or the mainstream LGBT movement,” said Angela Peoples, Director of GetEqual. “Calls to divest from predatory banks likes Wells Fargo and to end the over-policing of pride have been coming from the community for years and Capital Pride continues to ‘research’ and ‘discuss’ their way out of systematic changes that could actually give power of Pride back to the people whose voice and experience are most crucial to the fight for our rights today.”
“In response to Board members’ collective refusal to take seriously the concerns of the community, we are moving forward with plans to replace Capital Pride with an alternative vision rooted in local priorities, and Pride’s historical opposition to state-sponsored violence,” added Brittany Walsh, an organizer with No Justice No Pride.
NJNP has already started planning an “alternative” to Capital Pride, to occur simultaneously with Capital Pride events. The corporate-free, community-led “QT Festival of Resistance” is scheduled to take place on June 10th, the same day as the Pride Parade. With clear support for NJNP, GetEqual and other concerned community groups at the community dialogue, Capital Pride is facing a real threat to its legitimacy. “If Capital Pride doesn’t act soon, it will be replaced,” NJNP organizer Helen M. said at the meeting. “We’re going to take pride back.”
For more information or to speak with spokespeople from NJNP contact Drew Ambrogi, email@example.com.
No Justice No Pride is a collective initially formed out of ResistThis, which has expanded to include organizers and activists from across the District of Columbia. We exist to end the LGBT movement’s collusion with systems of oppression that further marginalize queer and trans individuals.
Founded in 2010, GetEQUAL is a national grassroots network whose mission is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and our allies to take bold action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information go to www.getequal.org.
Resist This is a community based organization which formed from the collective that disrupted the Inauguration. The mission of Resist This is to bring activist groups together to strengthen DC organizing and onboarding new activists into the work that is being done. For more information go to www.resistthis.org.
Join the resistance at: www.nojusticenopride.com