Relations between the public at the police is at an all time low in the United States since the murder of George Floyd shocked the world and led to large scale protests and riots.
After apparently months of conversations, New York City Pride has decided to ban the police from all its events until 2025 in an effort to create a safe space for everyone at a time when trust in the police is as rock bottom.
The statement NYC Pride read in part as follows with the Tweet below:
“NYC Pride announces new policies to address the presence of law enforcement and NYPD at Pride events in New York. 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.”
NYC Pride announces new policies to address the presence of law enforcement and NYPD at Pride events in New York. The steps being taken challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward, in hopes of making an impactful change. pic.twitter.com/DAVtJBtCSR— New York City Pride (@NYCPride) May 15, 2021
Obviously, this is a pretty big move and a powerful responsive statement to events in previous years.
Natalie James, co-founder of the 2018 Reclaim Pride Coalition – which has been vocally instrumental in the movement to remove police presence at Pride events – said in 2020: “The police continue with racist violence to this day, just as they did in 1969 during the Stonewall riots”.
Whatever you thoughts on the matter, it doesn’t seem like a decision that was taken lightly.
André Thomas, co-chair of NYC Pride, said that the decision took months of conversations 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,” he said in a statement.
“NYPD will provide first response and security only when absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials,” he continued.
Many will hail this to be an excellent decision on behalf of our community in or visiting NYC for the festivities, although obviously it has provoked conflicting responses from queer members of emergency services in the city itself. Gay Officers Action League, an organisation made up of LGBTQ+ officers, have called the policy “demoralizing.”
The president of the GOAL (Gay Officers Action League) called the decision to ban law enforcement from the festivities “shameful.”
“Their response to activist pressure is to take the low road by preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots,” Detective Brian Downey said in a Friday statement that preceded the one from NYC Pride.
Speaking about the announcement itself he suggested the wording to be “demoralizing”, for “referring to us only as ‘Law Enforcement Exhibitors. The label is not only offensive but dehumanizing for our members.”
What are your thoughts on the move? Let us know in the comments below!