FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 3.22.2019
Contact: Natalie James: 917-860-1571
RPC Citywide Organizing and Community Update Meeting
Wednesday, March 27th, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
NEW LOCATION - The Church of the Village, 201 West 13th Street, New York, NY 10011
Reclaim Pride Coalition Celebrates Cancellation of Hate Event at LGBT Center - Moves “Citywide Organizing and Community Update Meeting” about Queer Liberation March to The Church of the Village
New York, NY — March 22nd, 2019 — The Reclaim Pride Coalition is moving its Citywide Organizing and Update Meeting about our upcoming Queer Liberation March from the LGBT Community Center of New York because of the #WalkAway event that was previously scheduled at The Center. We made the decision to move our event to the Church of the Village and notified The Center at 12:45pm today (Friday), before The Center announced they are cancelling the #WalkAway event. The statement by The Center cancelling the event is here. We were proud to be one of the groups that took this betrayal by The Center seriously, and we appreciate the activism that led to this cancellation from Outlive Them NYC, Rise and Resist, the NYC DSA Queer Caucus, community members, and others.
The Center’s decision to rent the space to the #WalkAway panel, which advertised anti-black, transphobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic speakers, is at odds with the Reclaim Pride mission statement, flew in the face of The Center’s own anti-discrimination policies, and would have turned The Center into a space of violence for members of our community, and especially for the most marginalized in our community.
For this reason, we decided to find a host space for our event that was aligned with our values. The Reclaim Pride Citywide Organizing and Community Update Meeting will instead be held on Wednesday, March 27th from 6:30 - 8:30 PM across the street from The Center at The Church of the Village at 201 W. 13th Street in the main sanctuary space. The Church of the Village is wheelchair accessible via the entrance on 13th Street.
While we applaud The Center for cancelling the #WalkAway event, we will be honoring our reservation with the Church of the Village. The Center has violated the trust of our community and directly harmed vulnerable populations, especially our trans and gender non-conforming members. There must be additional steps of accountability and transparency before this relationship can be repaired.
"I was disgusted and dismayed to hear that The Center had decided to give a platform to the #WalkAway movement,” said Colin P. Ashley, an organizer/activist with People's Power Assemblies and The Reclaim Pride Coalition. “The #WalkAway panelists do not simply critique the Democratic Party; they specifically attack and demean trans people, black people, and the most marginalized and oppressed members of the LGBTQ+ community. Calling for an end of racist, transphobic oppression is not a mere position statement for some LGBTQ+ people; it is the foundation of the LGBTQ+ movement. #WalkAway panelists' actions and rhetoric of hate are part of a larger expansion of white supremacy across the globe. Denying them a platform at New York City's LGBT Center is not censorship, it is common sense."
The Center’s initial statement in support of the #WalkAway panel mistook hate speech and violent rhetoric for civil discourse, and their claims to support ‘free speech’ are a cowardly and unoriginal excuse to defend white nationalists and the far right. The LGBT Community Center should be ashamed, and we call on them to take serious steps to engage with the community in plotting a path forward.
The RPC Organizing and Community Update Meeting will include updates on the Queer Liberation March, Q and A, breakout sessions, speakers, and more. The meeting will feature speakers about three topics
Local issues — Kei Williams — queer transmasculine designer, writer, founding member of Black Lives Matter New York City
National issues — Brea Baker — NYC Women’s March and Justice League NYC,
International Issues — Micheal Ighodaro — Nigerian gay/AIDS activist
The Reclaim Pride Coalition meets every Wednesday night at 7pm at The People’s Forum, at 320 West 37th Street.