Protest is the heart and soul of LGBTQ Pride, and the Queer Liberation March is keeping that ethos alive.
Reclaim Pride Coalition (RPC) is bringing back the Queer Liberation March — a community-led, un-permitted protest through the streets of Manhattan — on June 27, 2021, organizers confirmed earlier this week. The 2021 event is its third iteration, with last year’s resistance march centering Black LGBTQ lives and opposing police brutality after a resurgence of Black Lives Matter activism nationwide. Organizers also implemented robust health and safety precautions in the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
— Reclaim Pride Coalition (@queermarch) March 1, 2021
“We must march and have our voices heard,” James Papadopoulos, an organizer from RPC, said in a statement to Gay City News. “The struggle for queer liberation cannot wait for the passing of the pandemic, as COVID-19 has made surviving even more difficult for far too many of our most marginalized community members.”
RPC is also seeking input from community members to help shape the event’s messaging and direction this year. “We want any and every member of our queer and trans family to guide the direction of this march, thereby creating an event that can make a true impact on our lives and our capacity to thrive!” said Francesca R. Barjon, another RPC organizer.
Launched in 2019 in response to the rampant corporatization and heavy police presence at sanctioned New York City Pride events, the Queer Liberation March prohibits uniformed cops and corporate sponsors from participating. The 2020 event was a massive success, with more than 50,000 New Yorkers showing up and peacefully taking to the streets on June 28, 2020, 51 years to the date since the game-changing uprising at NYC’s Stonewall Inn. Sadly, it appears not much has changed since that fateful day: NYPD officers charged at protestors toward the end of last year’s demonstration and arrested at least one participant, subjecting many more to violence.
Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit behind the permitted NYC Pride events, has released very few details about its 2021 schedule, teasing a virtual march on June 27 with “to-be-determined in-person elements.”
“I was there at Reclaim’s Pride first meeting, and it was evident from then that there was a large group of people who felt alienated by Heritage of Pride’s march,” fellow RPC organizer Jon Carter told NewNowNext last year. “When you put together a group that represents the full queer community, you get an experience that lifts you up.”