San Diego Pride won’t allow law enforcement in parade until reform demands met

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SAN DIEGO — San Diego Pride will not allow law enforcement to have contingents in their parade or to host booths at their events until the City of San Diego makes a series of reforms requested by organizers.

Pride announced the move Thursday, saying the decision came in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and calling the plan “A Path to Healing & Safer Communities.”

Pride 2020 has been made into a virtual event in San Diego due to COVID-19, so the most noticeable changes would come in 2021 if organizers and law enforcement did not come to an agreement.

Organizers called on the city to adopt eight policing policies laid out in a platform by the organization Campaign Zero, change the parade’s official status to a “free speech event,” and also requested a commitment to further reforms recommended by the black LGBTQ community.

Police will still have a presence at the organization’s in-person events for security and traffic purposes.

“Safety is now and has always been our #1 priority. We will continue to work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to keep our events and community safe,” Pride staff explained. “Law enforcement agencies will oversee road closures and vital safety precautions in coordination with Pride’s leadership team.”

Pride leaders have also said they would welcome officers or deputies to march if they are not in uniform, because the primary focus is on not including “militarized” units in the festivities.

A four-step plan for the changes laid out by organizers reads as follows:

  1. Law enforcement agencies will no longer have contingents in the San Diego Pride Parade or booths in our Pride Festival. This may be reassessed after the completion of Step 4.
  2. The City of San Diego will recognize the San Diego Pride Parade as a free speech event and no longer bill the organization for road closures and safety.
  3. The City of San Diego will immediately adopt the #8CantWait Campaign recommendations.
  4. Support a phased approach to policy reform recommendations centering Black LGBTQ San Diegans.

Organizers said they would consider reinstating law enforcement entries at events when their requests have been met. Leaders described being torn between the “incredible strides” made in fostering a positive relationship with local law enforcement, while also hearing repeated concerns from participants who are trans, black or people of color who feel “left behind.”

“The San Diego Pride organization finds itself in the middle of these two lived realities,” organizers wrote. “The progress is real and important. The lack of progress for our Black, trans, and people of color communities is also real and devastating.”

You can read Pride’s full proposal here.

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