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Grassroots march focuses on Black, Brown trans lives
by Tim Peacock
2020-06-28

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Organized by a host of grassroots organizations focused on assisting marginalized communities around the city, the Pride Without Prejudice/Reclaim Pride march kicked off at the Belmont Red Line station at noon on June 28. The march focused on Black and Brown lives—and transgender lives, in particular.

Although originally sponsored by a handful of grassroots organizations, the march received additional endorsements and co-hosts following the cancellation of the "Black Lives Matter: A BLM Pride Protest," as ACTIVATE-CHI organizers faced accusations they were not placing Black, Brown and trans voices front and center as well as claims they did not have an official endorsement from Black Lives Matter-Chicago ( despite advertising such ).

In the cancellation announcement, ACTIVATE-CHI said, in part, "We will be directing all of our resources from this march to Pride Without Prejudice, and make a sizable donation to Brave Space Alliance."

Organizations sponsoring and/or endorsing the Pride Without Prejudice/Reclaim Pride march included Affinity Community Services, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Organized Communities Against Deportations, Brave Space Alliance, Gay Liberation Network and National Trans March.

Ashabi Owagboriaye and Alexis Abarca kicked the event off by introducing speakers such as Samer Owaida, from Palestine Youth Movement; Wemi Esho, from National Trans Visibility March; and Antonio Gutierrez, a co-founder and the strategic coordinator for Organized Communities Against Deportations ( OCAD ).

"Pride was a riot—it was not a party," Owagboriaye said. "We are not only here to fight for Black lives, but to fight for Black trans lives. The Black Lives movement needs to be inclusive of all of our lives. Black lives matter, Black women matter, Black queers matter, Black trans lives matter."

The march moved up Belmont and north through Boystown as the crowd chanted and grew.

At several points along the route, the march paused to highlight Black and trans speakers. In particular, the march stopped in front of the 19th District police station at 850 W. Addison St. to discuss police violence against Black and trans people. Organizers highlighted Strawberry Hampton, an incarcerated trans woman who was transferred to a women's facility in December 2018 after a year-long struggle that included sexual and physical violence.

Other speakers included Jae Rice and Zahara Bassett, from Brave Space Alliance; Jayda Van, from the Chicago Alliance Against Racialism and Political Repression; trans youth activist Carter Cavazos; drag performer Maori Beverly Hillz ( Missy Banks ); Envision Consulting CEO Tatyana Moaton; and transgender individual Russia Brown.

For more information on the march, including links to organizations accepting donations, see "Pride Without Prejudice/Reclaim Pride March" on Facebook.


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