POC Queer and Two Spirit Community Organizers Kicked out of Pride Parade.

NorthEast Two-Spirit Society and Audre Lorde Project’s Executive Director seemed to have been forcefully kicked out of the NYC Heritage of Pride march this past weekend.
From the Ness website,

Just before 2PM, Lieutenant Connoly of the Midtown Taskforce demanded that the People of Color Contingent leave the parade. The reason given was that a delay of 6 blocks existed between the People of Color contingent and the contingent in front of them. NYPD raised the issue of the gap once and POC contingent marshals were in the process of closing the gap. Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of Audre Lorde Project (ALP), and Loyda Colon also of ALP explained to Lieutenant Connoly, that they were in the process of closing the gap and Lieutenant Connoly refused to listen. Lieutenant Connoly then insisted that the POC contingent leave the parade, and attempted to arrest both Colon and Hayashi. Lieutenant Connoly then ejected Harlan Pruden, the driver of NE2SS’ support vehicle and co-founder of NE2SS, other members of NE2SS (who led the People of Color Contingent), and Hayashi from the parade. Hayashi was physically dragged off the parade route.
“It should have been a day to celebrate and have fun,” Harlan Pruden, Co-founder of NE2SS.

First off, having a six block gap seems like a weird reason to be kicked out of the parade. Secondly, I think this speaks to an inability to see people of color as a fundamental part of the pride festival. The conference organizers said that NE2SS can rejoin the parade, but I do think that the police are their to protect the ability for marchers to march in safety and what they feel is appropriate membership in the parade.
Whatever the reason may be, both NE2SS and the ALP are amazing organizations that should be part of Pride and it is sad that they were not able to participate without being harassed and kicked out by cops.

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6 Comments

  1. Logrus
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Based on what you posted the cops were responding to the wishes of the parade organizers and it is they (the organizers) who should be held accountable if this is an issue.
    and before someone calls me a cop-apologist I hope you have the ability to read my past comments on the fuzz, I’m not a fan.
    But this is no different than last week when the police arrested some fundies who were interfering with a pride in the park event in California. The event organizers are the people who determine who is and who is not allowed to participate.
    In this case the event organizers are/were doing damage control to try to cover for their own decisions.

  2. Siveambrai
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Marches in large cities like New York are extremely difficult to control because shutting off even a few blocks can lock down the city for hours before and after the event. I know police will often air on the side of caution regarding delays like a 6 block gap would cause.
    That being said Logrus has an excellent point that these things usually are on the behalf of the organizers not the police themselves. And accommodation is more common than removal of groups such as this. I think something deeper may be a foot.

  3. LalaReina
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I (as a NYer I might add) feel it was a big overreaction. Tell them to close the gap, give them a reasonable amount of time and if necessary then do something. NYPD are patient at events they want to be patient at and asses when not. I’ve seen shit happen at parades, floats break down and whatnot.

  4. bifemmefatale
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Grammar pedantry ahead:
    That’s *err* (to make an error) on the side of caution.

  5. gudbuytjane
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Let’s see. They were:
    1. People of colour
    2. Gender-deviant, queer, or both
    Do you think queer/GD POC don’t routinely get hassled by cops? I am not willing to assume the best of the cops here.
    Sure, the parade admins have some questions to answer, but I guess I don’t come from a world where we expect the best out of cops until proven otherwise.

  6. Michelle Lee
    Posted July 1, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s messed up on both the event organizers and the police. What was the reason to be arrested, for delaying the parade, come on.

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