Being Policed During A Time of PRIDE

Official Statement from Black Lives Matter: NYC Chapter

For Immediate Release

New York City, NY — We mourn the loss of all 49 victims fatally shot in Orlando. We are in solidarity with those who were wounded and their loved ones. We recognize the Orlando mass shooting directly impacted Latinx and Black LGBTQI people and allies — the same groups who are most vulnerable to discriminatory policing practices. In the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting, we denounce all forms of antagonism targeted at queer, trans, gender nonconforming people and their allies by hateful vigilantes. And we are also holding accountable law enforcement because of the various forms of state sanctioned violence that negatively impact and kill Black and Latinx people everyday in our communities.

Today thousands of people will gather to celebrate NYC’s historic PRIDE parade, and they will be met with the presence and potential show of force by the New York Police Department — with some officers patrolling from rainbow-detailed vehicles. Black Lives Matter: NYC Chapter is present, and in solidarity with our LGBTQI family, and we also stand by our critique of the continued, and rapidly growing, militarization and terrorism of communities of marginalized people. The NYPD has systematically supported an environment where Black folks and People of Color are targeted. The inclusion of heavily-armed police at PRIDE is a clear reminder that gay marriage is not enough to protect human rights.

(Image: White NYPD SUV Police Car with rainbow stripes detailed throughout — Source )

The legacy of PRIDE and so much of the current movement for Black lives is rooted in the powerful strength of Marsha P. Johnson and the transgender and queer community that unleashed the Stonewall rebellion. In the shadow of the shooting at Pulse, we can not help but reflect that the same community that lost 49 family members built the rebellion that shook to the core this nation’s violent notions of sexuality and state violence. Stonewall, was a radical statement that the foundation of safety is organized community and not the police. As long as the LGBTQI community includes people who are also Black, Latinx, and Muslim police at PRIDE will not make us any safer. No matter how many cop cars are rainbow themed, the NYPD is a far cry from a community controlled institution.

The state violence we face has only continued as New York City transitioned from Stop and Frisk to Broken Windows policing. Broken Windows is a 1980's theory turned police practice that uses minor offenses to target people society has discarded, with the assumption being that preventing minor offenses will prevent serious crime. The real crime is the lack of basic needs along with the increased policing that seem to always go hand in hand with decreased opportunity. There is now a continuum of violence between the daily anti-LGBTQI harassment in our neighborhoods and the unrelenting state violence of police brutality that kills a Black person every day. In a country where 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQI, and in a city with 60,000 homeless people, the use of Broken Windows is a complete disregard of the lives that have already been lost and those still surviving.

While our people struggle to survive the largest police force in the country, the seventh largest military in the world has been expanded at a massive expense. Occupation is now the reality on the streets, in the shelters, underground in the trains and now regrettably at PRIDE. LGBTQI families surviving on the subway are facing a city that pays $50 million dollars a year to arrest them for fare-beating. Just this month the NYPD coordinated a manhunt with helicopters for a child who was fare-beating. With 30,000 arrests, fare-beating is now the number one arrest category in the city, with our community representing 92% of those tickets and arrests.

Our people can’t eat, we can’t live and this city’s answer to our desperation is placing a paramilitary force everywhere. How are people going to be safe at PRIDE when across the country sexual misconduct is one of the most common complaints against the police and the NYPD doesn’t even keep records of these complaints? How can PRIDE make commitments to queer Muslims and the police that surveil them? In the wake of the shooting at Pulse, in Orlando, Florida we can not help but fear that the pretense that Muslim and queer communities are separate and the misnaming of terror will only increase the reliance on police. The NYPD has already taken a lead in putting participants in the movement for Black lives under surveillance, how will their official role in PRIDE stop this?

As police kill our people every day we can either see organized community as the source of safety or the police. This is what is at stake. PRIDE is aligning with the city’s belief that safety is created by armed police, and that placing police in every area of our lives is the policy that should be followed. At the same time the things that actually create safe neighborhoods remain under attack: housing, jobs, food, healthcare and of course organized communities committed to ending violence. We must commit to resisting occupation, naming state violence as terror and organizing to build safe neighborhoods. Asking always, “what is our commitment to the entire LGBTQI community?”

In the richest city, in the richest country in the history of the world we have the resources to ensure everyone’s well being. We do not need to rely on the police to disappear our pain when we can provide everyone with the safe housing, holistic healthcare and transformative education they need to be well. Beyond this world we imagine something better, join us in this vision of safety beyond policing.

Take PRIDE, Take Action:

  • Demand that your local community board and precinct council sign resolutions against Broken Windows
  • Make calls for reinvestment in your neighborhood at your community board and precinct council
  • Tell your District Attorney to stop prosecuting Broken Windows
  • Organize your neighborhood to end street harassment and police brutality
  • Stay up to date with actions happening across NYC such as #SwipeItForward and #SafetyBeyondPolicing

We believe in safety and love and that the strength of the march, the heat of the summer can be enjoyed when we organize ourselves to prevent violence and heal each other.

In Solidarity,
Black Lives Matter: NYC Chapter

*View Sources Referenced In This Statement HERE

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Black Lives Matter: NYC Chapter (BLMNYC) is a local organizing effort in solidarity with the national #BlackLivesMatter Network (read the herstory and love note @ http://blacklivesmatter.com/). We are a Black-led organization that is women, queer, and working-class affirming and seeks Black liberation, and accordingly liberation for all people. Black Lives Matter: NYC Chapter is a citywide decentralized Black space collective composed of radical activists and organizers who unapologetically advocate by any means necessary for the liberation of all Black bodies. Our demands are majority local, but connected to regional, national, and international organizing efforts by #BlackLivesMatter. To connect with us email blacklivesmatternyc@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter @BLMNYC.

Contact:
Kei Williams
Community Organizer
Black Lives Matter: NYC
keiwillliams@gmail.com
blacklivesmatternyc@gmail.com