Black Lives Matter Pulls Out Of SF Pride

Good for them!

"For us, celebrating Pride this year meant choosing between the threat of homophobic vigilante violence and the threat of police violence," said a statement from Black Lives Matter, an organizational grand marshal; Janetta Johnson, a community grand marshal; and sex worker advocacy group St James Infirmary, a "Heritage of Pride" award recipient.

"We had a tough decision to make, and ultimately we chose to keep our people safe by not participating in any event that would leave our communities vulnerable to either."

On Tuesday, SF Pride announced that this year's events would have a "significant police presence" and that, for the first time in the celebration's 46-year history, attendees at the festival would be required to pass through security screening. The decision was made in the wake of the mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, in which 49 people were killed.

Many LGBT people of color expressed concern with that news, citing the historic targeting and harassment of communities of color by police.

"I'm more afraid of police than terrorists," Johnson, who is a black transgender woman, told the Guardian on Tuesday.

ACLU NC: SFPD's Racism and Bigotry Don't Mix with SF Pride

Bringing in more police, especially undercover officers, is not the way to promote racial and economic justice.

The history of pride is rooted in rioting against bigoted police and has been led by LGBT youth of color. And the LGBT people in this city, especially LGBT people of color, deal with regular profiling, discrimination and harassment by law enforcement.

As we have seen time and time again, there are systemic problems within the SFPD that must be addressed. Increasing the number of officers on the streets will not only alienate and prevent people from coming to celebrate but may put those who do show up in danger. [...]

"Only 50 percent of LGBTQI people of color believe the police would help them if needed, 46 percent of transgender respondents, and 40 percent of transgender people of color shared that belief," according to the report. "Respondents identifying as Native American or Middle Eastern are least likely to believe the police would help them if needed."

While the SFPD promotes the message that San Francisco is a welcoming city for the LGBT community, it fails to point out the history of racism and bigotry within its ranks. This is the same police force that was recently in the news again when officers were exposed for exchanging racist and homophobic texts. This is the same police force that treats people of color as enemies and arrests black people in dramatically higher numbers. This is the same department that had its police chief dismissed because his officers continue to murder people of color in the streets. [...]

Cops in the clubs won't make people feel safer. And SF Pride should not be an excuse to over police the city's most vulnerable communities.

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