Pride, po­lice and #NoJus­ticeNoPride

GA Voice - - Nationalnews -

When most peo­ple get stopped by the po­lice, the pro­to­col is the smile, drum up some witty ban­ter and, pos­si­bly, cleav­age, so they can go about their busi­ness. For them, be­ing pulled over is any­where from a mi­nor in­con­ve­nience to a pain in the ass.

For Black peo­ple, it can be a mat­ter of life and death, re­gard­less of our ac­tions. As I type, the Black com­mu­nity is in mourn­ing. On June 16, the po­lice of­fi­cer that mur­dered Phi­lando Castile walked out of the court­room a free man. By all ac­counts, Castile did ev­ery­thing right. He was also a beloved fig­ure in his com­mu­nity. Dur­ing that fate­ful traf­fic stop, he was po­lite and let the of­fi­cer know he was carry- ing a le­gal gun. His fi­ancée, Diamond, was po­lite and obe­di­ent to the of­fi­cer even as the world watched Castile bleed out via Face­book Live. Still, a jury saw fit to let the of­fi­cer walk.

Two days af­ter re­ceiv­ing that news, we learned that Charleena Lyles was shot by the po­lice af­ter call­ing them to re­port a bur­glary.

These in­ci­dents fol­low a long history of vi­o­lence and in­jus­tice that Black peo­ple have faced from the po­lice and sup­posed jus­tice sys­tem. Just be­ing Black is hard enough, but when you’re no­tice­ably queer or trans, the dan­ger in­creases. Ac­cord­ing to a 2016 re­port by the So­lu­tions Not Pun­ish­ment Col­lab­o­ra­tive, 80 per­cent of trans women of color re­ported be­ing stopped by the At­lanta Po­lice De­part­ment and nearly half of them said the cops as­sumed they were sex work­ers. In the same re­port, two out of five of the peo­ple sur­veyed ended up get­ting ar­rested af­ter call­ing At­lanta Po­lice for as­sis­tance.

These in­jus­tices are why the #NoJus­ticeNoPride move­ment was cre­ated. As the move­ment pro­gresses, I’ve seen pic­tures of ac­tivists be­ing ar­rested for dis­rupt­ing Prides and white LGBT peo­ple cheer­ing as they’re be­ing led away in hand­cuffs. That im­agery was jar­ring to me be­cause it re­minded me of the pho­tos of Black stu­dents in the ’60s walk­ing through crowds of snarling white peo­ple as they at­tempted to in­te­grate a school. That’s shame­ful be­hav­ior at a cel­e­bra­tion that was birthed from a damn riot!

The mere pres­ence of the po­lice at Pride cel­e­bra­tions is a threat. They aren’t there to keep us safe. Their pur­pose is the same as it was at Stonewall, to keep us in line. At­lanta Pride isn’t un­til Oc­to­ber, but I hope #NoJus­ticeNoPride will have a pres­ence. I’d rather see them than those tacky cross­walks. It’s time for Pride to re­turn to its roots, and if it has to be dragged there kick­ing and scream­ing, so be it.

If we don’t get no jus­tice, y’all don’t get no Pride.

“The mere pres­ence of the po­lice at Pride cel­e­bra­tions is a threat. They aren’t there to keep us safe. Their pur­pose is the same as it was at Stonewall, to keep us in line.”

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