BlackPride4 Moves Forward after Community Dialogue: “We Must Disrupt”
The conversation isn’t about Stonewall Columbus (SWC) anymore. The BlackPride4 (BP4) and their supporters made that clear at their community dialogue on Monday night.
It came a week after SWC attempted a discussion of their own, meant to address racism and transphobia in the LGBTQ+ community as well as their delayed response to the arrests of four queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) at the Pride Parade last month.
BP4, QTPOC, and their allies stormed that meeting, confronted SWC, ran out the clock, and left people with this Monday’s date, encouraging them to show up to the conversation that would be led by those most marginalized in the community.
A lot of them did show — at least 200 filtered into St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, where it was held. And, within minutes of activist Justice Harley’s introduction to the discussion, it was obvious SWC wouldn’t be the focus. That conflict has come to a standstill, BP4 refusing to work with the current leadership and SWC leaders refusing to resign. The two are moving on.
SWC “has already started conversations with Chief Jacobs and others at the Columbus Division of Police (CDP),” according to the Facebook post they published Monday morning. Along with other community parters they plan to “examine CDP policies and procedures, make recommendations for improvements, and develop the training materials/resources that will implement those recommendations.”
BP4, International Socialist Organization (ISO), Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus (BQIC), Yes We Can, and other grassroots groups reject that approach.
“So what now?” asked Harley, a member of ISO. “Now we need to build a mass movement in Columbus against racism and police brutality, and against capitalism and the institutions that it creates to oppress all of us.”
The mic passed from speaker to speaker, panel member to panel member. They accepted questions from the congregation and had answers that differed greatly from those proposed in SWC’s Facebook post. Among them was, while filing formal complaints with CPD, working outside of “the system,” or the city’s network of corporately funded organizations and nonprofits, to combat police brutality and institutionalized racism and transphobia.
“Now more than ever we need to get back to the grassroots and away from the nonprofits,” Harley added. “Corporate funding of nonprofits dictates their actions, dictates how they’re allowed to act.”
On the panel was Indya Jackson, another protester who wasn’t arrested. They made a point to bring a historical context to current local efforts to end discrimination within the criminal justice system, which “reveals strides we can make” and recognizes that “power concedes nothing without demand.”
“We will rearrange Columbus, Ohio from the bottom up if we have to,” Jackson said. “From Karla Rothan to Kim Jacobs to Ron O’Brien to Andrew Ginther to Mike DeWine.”
“We cannot allow business to be carried on as usual,” they added. “We must disrupt by any means necessary. We must disrupt the police department. We must disrupt city hall. We must disrupt city council. We must disrupt.”
Read More about the protest at the Pride Parade.
Read More about the BP4’s takeover of SWC’s community conversation.
Read More about BQIC, an organization combatting discrimination based on race and gender identity.
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