It was in 1970 that L.A. held its first pride parade. Thousands of people from all over the world gathered in celebration as they courageously marched down Hollywood Boulevard. Now for the first time in 49 years, organizers had no choice but to cancel the parade due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Not long after the virus outbreak, George Floyd, a 49 year old black man was innocently killed at the hands of Minneapolis police, setting into motion a worldwide uproar. Citizens and businesses from around the globe have banded together in protest to openly share their support for the black community and put a stop to police brutality.
Now joining in unity, L.A. Pride has officially announced that taking the place of what was to be the Pride parade will now be in solidarity to address the “systemic racism” that this country faces.
The announcement was originally made on Wednesday through L.A. Pride's social media and is scheduled to take place on Sunday, June 14 at 10 a.m. The march will be held on Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. which was the exact same spot that the first Pride parade took place as a riot in an effort to put an end to police brutality.
Come June 14, both the Black community and the LGBTQ community will come together to finish what they first started nearly 50 years ago. The organizers plan to march to West Hollywood and stop at the intersection of San Vicente and Santa Monica.
In their message they write, “To our LA Pride family: While we had previously cancelled all in-person events due to COVID-19, we have decided to peacefully assemble a protest in Hollywood, where the first ever permitted Pride Parade took place, in solidarity with the Black community…” (Read the full message below).
As expected, many have taken to social media to openly criticize the idea and question if the march has been rightfully coordinated with the Black Lives Matter movement.
@shannonpurser writes, “You need to be working with Black Lives Matter on this. It could be dangerous if you don’t have black organizers with experience leading the way.”
Ashlee Marie Preston who’s the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication and the first trans person to run for state office in California joined in on the conversation writing in, “Protests aren’t solely about bringing in bodies. They’re about bringing a message. If there’s no clear message, there’s no clear path toward victory. Always make sure you can identify the messenger. This mitigates the possibility of infiltration and derailment of a movement. #BLM”. In accompany with her Tweet, Ashlee took a video further explaining how to be a proper ally to the black community.
Twitter user @krisrehl writes, “We demand this event be coordinated with @BLMLA. No cops. No corporate sponsors.”
For those who plan to attend the protest despite the controversy, organizers are encouraging attendees to wear face coverings, gloves and come equipped with hand sanitizer as COVID-19 still begins to plague the world. In fact, as of Thursday, over 2,500 people tested positive for COVID-19 and the state is now approaching 125,000 cases. While the injustices of this country must be brought to light by any means necessary, it’s imperative that we continue to keep ourselves and those around us safe.