Pride Month In 2020

June is Pride Month and the Rhode Island State House is illuminated in celebration. Pride Month is held in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.

Sadly, the coronavirus has forced Rhode Island Pride to postpone PrideFest and the illuminated parade which has brought joy to Rhode Islanders of every stripe and orientation. (Facebook event.) And, while we love the music and food and dancing, it is good to remember that the festival is rooted in the violence reaction to police oppression.

Today’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations resonate strongly with the Stonewall Riots which finally brought the terrible oppression of gays to the attention of a complaisant America. Rolling Stone magazine reports that New York’s Reclaim Pride is “just one of several organizations that are refocusing their events during LGBTQ Pride month in alignment with the movement of for racial justice.” From Queer Pride Is Going Back to Its Protest Roots:

LGBTQ organizations and Pride groups which cannot gather in person because of COVID-19 are turning to online spaces to organize in response to police brutality protests. Following the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death in her bed by Louisville police officers on March 13th, the Louisville Pride Foundation raised $50,000 for The Bail Project — which is providing bail money for jailed activists — through a Facebook fundraiser. The campaign, which exceeded its goal in less than a week, was so successful that Louisville Pride launched a Social Justice Fund on Friday to provide additional grants to local civil rights groups.

The Gay Pride Movement has learned a lot about mobilizing the troops and influencing public opinion over their decades of fighting police brutality. And needless to say there is overlap here: Plenty of LGBTQ people are black.

At the time of this writing, Reclaim Pride NYC is going ahead with plans for a march on June 28th — time and location to be determined — renaming the event the “Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality.”

We will keep you posted.

 

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