Community Pride Changes Security Plan for Saturday’s Festival
The Columbus Community Pride, initially launched to offer an LGBTQ celebration without a police presence, has hit some snags in the search for event security.
After originally contracting with black trans-owned Highland Security & Investigations (HSI), Community Pride hosts Black, Queer & Intersectional Columbus (BQIC) discovered that the company has collaborated with ICE and employs current and former police officers. Now, a day before Community Pride, BQIC is assembling a community-led safety team in lieu of HSI.
“We don’t want to make attendees feel unsafe with their presence, nor do we personally want to support a group who works with police or has been contracted by ICE because that puts us and our communities in danger,” BQIC wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday, June 13.
The group admitted they had not properly vetted HSI, because they had mistakenly assumed “that a Black trans-led security firm wouldn’t be so intimately involved in state-sanctioned violence.” BQIC said the volunteer-based safety team is made of experienced people who can train others in self-defense and de-escalation.
That said, if any illegal activity goes beyond what the safety team can handle, the Columbus Police Department will have to respond.
BQIC is still looking for volunteers to join their team. Because of that, they’ve canceled the interactive workshops planned for Saturday’s festival.
The mishap shows the difficulty of guaranteeing bodily safety for a crowd while offering security to those who are uncomfortable around ICE and local law enforcement.
“We’re trying our best to organize a safe space for QTIPOC with Community Pride,” BQIC wrote in the post. “We take responsibility for our actions and are working quickly to resolve these issues so that everyone can feel safe at Community Pride.”