San Francisco announced there would be security screening and metal detectors at all entry points for the 2016 San Francisco Pride Celebration on Saturday and Sunday. In light of this announcement, Black Lives Matter announced that several Grand Marshals and awardees of the “racial & economic justice” themed event will withdraw because law enforcement has created unsafe conditions for queer communities of color.
“In the Bay Area, and the rest of the country, Black communities experience real fear and terror at the hands of homophobic and racist vigilantes and law enforcement,” Shanelle Matthews, Director of Communications for the Black Lives Matter network, said in a statement. “We are working every day to find solutions and we know the militarization of large-scale events only gives an illusion of safety. We are choosing to do the real work of building safe communities.”
Black Lives Matter cited San Francisco Police Department’s record of racist scandal and killings of people of color. Grand Marshal Janetta Johnson, Executive Director of the TGI Justice Project, an organization by and for trans, intersex and gender non-conforming people in prisons, jails and detention centers, also decided to withdraw.
“As queer people of color, we are disproportionately targeted by both vigilante and police violence,” Black Lives Matter member Malkia Cyril said in a statement. “We know first hand that increasing the police presence at Pride does not increase safety for all people.”
The Grand Marshals of the New Orleans Pride Parade, BreakOUT!, also announced they would not march because increased law enforcement made its members feel unsafe to do so.