In a letter sent today to Philly Pride Presents, the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club called for the organization that hosts the Philadelphia Pride Parade to reconsider the invitation to the the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) of the Philadelphia Police Department to serve as Grand Marshals of the Philadelphia Pride Parade on June 12, 2016.”Our variety of experiences and perspectives is what has driven our movement from Stonewall all the way to the Supreme Court,” states the letter, from LCDC Co-Chairs Tony Campisi and Anne Wakabayashi. “Pride is our time to not only celebrate that, but also take time to focus on the progress we have yet to achieve.” That progress yet to be achieved includes the struggles of communities of color which cannot be ignored, as well as an acknowledgement of the historical tensions that have existed between the LGBT community and the law enforcement community, most notably the Stonewall riots that Pride itself commemorates.
“Unfortunately, this lack of trust is not just in our past, there are still tensions between our community and the police force, and there are still many people in our community who feel less safe, not more, in the presence of a police officer. Pride should be a day for our entire community to come together, and to leave out large swaths of LGBT Philadelphia goes against the spirit of what we are celebrating at Pride,” states the letter.
“We believe the timing of the invitation to GOAL is insensitive, at best, to recent events around the nation that rightfully underscore the fears felt by many minority communities, including the LGBT community, in the presence of law enforcement. These feelings were clearly evident at the community forum on public safety hosted by Liberty City in January that was attended by the District Attorney and high ranking members of the police department,” said Campisi.
“We certainly support the mission of GOAL and commend their work. However, our nation is in the midst of an important conversation about the use of excessive force by the law enforcement community. In light of that conversation, we feel the invitation to GOAL sends the wrong message and we urge Philly Pride Presents to reconsider,” added Wakabayashi.