On June 17th, 2017, Black Queer and Trans people gathered with their allies at the Columbus Pride Festival in Columbus, Ohio with the intent of silently blocking the parade for seven minutes. This action was to protest the murders of Henry Green and Tyre King, both slain by members of the Columbus Police Department in 2016, as well as to shed light on the lack of safe spaces for Black and Brown people in Columbus's LGBTQIA+ community.
Though the protesters' method was a silent, nonviolent demonstration, Columbus Division of Police attacked protesters with mace, bicycles, and brute force less than two minutes after the roadblock's initiated.
Four Black protesters —— now known as the #BlackPride4 —— were targeted and arrested: Wriply Bennet, Deandre Miles, Ashley Braxton, and Kendall Denton. Three of the four individuals —— Bennet, Braxton, and Denton —— face misdemeanor charges. Deandre Miles faces a heinous charge of aggravated robbery, a felony of the first degree.
After months of widespread community outrage, Bennet, Braxton, and Denton started trial on Monday February 5th, 2018 for these trumped-up charges. Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus ( BQIC ) calls for more support to #FreeTheBlackPride4 and to join the fight for Black Queer and Trans liberation.
We believe that everyone has stakes in a struggle that ensures no more Black, Queer and Trans people are surveilled, brutalized, or murdered by our violent police state. We must also continue to challenge LGBQIA+ organizations like Stonewall Columbus for their continued participation in the erasure of Queer and Trans people of color by failing to advocate for the entire community.
You can bring public attention to the outrageous charges filed against the #BlackPride4 and help BQIC in our work to uplift and advocate for Black LGBTQIA+ folks by taking the following steps this week:
- Text a Friend & Take A Selfie for the #BlackPride4
- Take and post a photo in support of the #BlackPride4 with your organization, using theFacebook Frame created by and search for GetEQUAL, or other visuals of support ( ie: posters, art, photos, etc. )
GetEQUAL is building a grassroots movement to empower our LGBTQ community to take bold action to demand liberation. We hold accountable those who stand in the way. Connect with us and with others in this movement via Facebook and Twitter. You can join the LGBTQ liberation movement by getting involved locally and by donating to support the work of activists across the country.