Several California LGBTQ organizations march in solidarity with the Black community

Though COVID-19 has thwarted LGBTQ Pride Month plans across the globe, the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have prompted a call to action for LGBTQ community to take a stand against racial violence, and to stand in solidarity with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

The Human Rights Campaign released a letter earlier this week, which was also signed by various other LGBTQ organizations, condemning racism, racial violence and police brutality while calling for action to combat these scourges.

Many California organizations have since shown support or announced their plans to show support to the Black community and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Christopher Street West, the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that produces the annual LA Pride Parade and Festival, has recently announced that they will stage a protest march this month in solidarity with the Black community.

The organization had previously cancelled all in-person Pride events due to COVID-19. However, the CSW Board of Directors has voted to peacefully assemble a protest in response to racial injustice, systemic racism and all forms of oppression.

“Fifty years ago, Christopher Street West took to the streets of Hollywood in order to peacefully protest against police brutality and oppression,” said Estevan Montemayor, President of CSW Board of Directors.

“It is our moral imperative to honor the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera, who bravely led the Stonewall uprising, by standing in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism and joining the fight for meaningful and long-lasting reform.”

The march will start on Sunday, June 14 at 10:00 a.m. at the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. in Hollywood. It will continue through West Hollywood and end at San Vicente and Santa Monica Blvds. The California Department of Public Health recommends that participants engaging in the march should wear face coverings at all times.

Though Christopher Street West has planned this march for June 14, another organization decided to stage their own protest in West Hollywood on June 3. 

A protest led by the group LGBTQ+ For #BlackLivesMatter was started in West Hollywood on Wednesday at the intersection of Santa Monica and La Cienega Boulevards, where large groups of people gathered on each corner of the intersection before spilling onto the streets.

Protestors were seen laying down and taking a knee in the middle of the intersection as drivers also showed their support. Los Angeles County deputies were on the scene and said they were aware of the planned protest, and were allowing it to continue for as long as necessary.

Organizers said the group planned a peaceful march following the protest. The crowd was split into two groups as one marched west towards Robertson Boulevard, and the other group marched east towards the CNN building.

Protesters also gathered in Sacramento for the seventh day in a row on Thursday, as Black Lives Matter was joined by members of the local LGBTQ community.

They marched in solidarity Thursday evening before the city’s curfew went into effect, with events remaining largely peaceful. Many of those involved in the march said they wanted to speak up, especially for those who do not have a voice themselves. 

“There’s many people in our community, specifically as a black person, that don’t have the ability to talk or have free speech,” said Bryan Sapp. “And so my job here today is just to provide amplification to people that don’t have a voice.”

The group marched along J Street to Cesar Chavez Plaza, with everyone encouraged to stay safe and practice social distancing.

For more information about the planned Christopher Street West and LA Pride march, please follow LA Pride on Facebook.

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.