Stella Maxwell
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L.A. Pride's Solidarity March Sparks Backlash for Police Involvement

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck

UPDATE: Jeff Consoletti, the event producer, has withdrawn his involvement from the march after the backlash. Read his statement below.

L.A. Pride's Black solidarity march has come under fire for its involvement with law enforcement.

Jeff Consoletti, the event producer, sparked outrage on social media when he posted a letter to Instagram on behalf of Christopher Street West, the nonprofit helming the Los Angeles demonstration.

The letter was a permit application submitted Tuesday to the Los Angeles Police Department. In it, Consoletti, who is gay, wrote that "our community stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Justice for George Floyd to denounce racial prejudice and injustice, police brutality against communities of color, intolerance, and violence."

Consoletti also stressed the decades-long "strong and unified partnership with law enforcement." L.A. Pride is the country's oldest permitted Pride march — a permit's approval necessitates a partnership with law enforcement — and 2020 marks its 50th anniversary of this collaboration. 

However, some activists on social media noted how any partnership with cops is counterintuitive to the purpose of the protests taking place across the United States and the world in response to the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, and race-based violence.

Fran Tirado, the former deputy editor of Out magazine, The Advocate's sister publication, posted a screenshot of the letter on Twitter along with a critical message, "Homos, this is not it."

Commenters on Tirado's post suggested boycotting the march or holding a counterprotest that rejects any police involvement, such as last year's Queer Liberation March held as an alternative to the corporate-heavy World Pride in New York City.

L.A. Pride events were initially canceled due to the health pandemic. However, the wave of protests led CSW to announce the march, which is scheduled for June 14, from Hollywood to the West Hollywood gayborhood.

Estevan Montemayor, president of CSW's Board of Directors, said the march is "standing in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism and joining the fight for meaningful and long-lasting reform.”

CSW has yet to announce a partnership with Black Lives Matter or any other organization leading the movement for reform. The Advocate has requested a response from CSW but has yet to hear back as of the time of this article's publishing.

Dara Nai, the operations manager of CSW, appeared to respond to concerns in the screenshot of an email posted on Twitter. "You are the nth person to ask if LA Pride plans on inviting LAPD. The answer is NO," the text read. "We have no intention of asking LAPD, or Mayor Garcetti, for that matter. Please rest assured, and spread the word."

L.A. Pride posted this on Twitter as well:

In a statement to The Advocate following the backlash, Consoletti said he was withdrawing his involvement from the march. Additionally, Consoletti said he had signed on to do the event pro bono after CSW "assured me they had the support of the Black queer community for their event, but it has become clear that is not entirely the case."

"I apologize and now see that these actions demonstrated the type of privileged, passive, and systemic issues that permeate society today," Consoletti said. "Our desire to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement was not carefully thought through. I am appreciative of the education I am receiving on how to be better and can see now that it is not right to take up space or attention from the conversation of racial inequality and the injustice Black people face from law enforcement."

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