Los Angeles Pride Will Be Revived As Black Lives Matter Solidarity March

Initially canceled because of COVID-19, the June 14 event will now harken back to Pride's roots as a protest for social justice.
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Nearly two months after the COVID-19 crisis forced organizers of Los Angeles鈥 LGBTQ Pride festival to go digital-only, plans for a reimagined in-person event are back on.

Christopher Street West, which produces L.A. Pride, announced Wednesday that the group would stage a 鈥渟olidarity protest march,鈥 much like the demonstrations against racial inequality and police brutality taking place now nationwide.

Intended as a 鈥渞esponse to racial injustice, systemic racism and all forms of oppression,鈥 the event will be held June 14, the date previously reserved for the traditional Pride parade. Though specifics are scarce, participants will be expected to wear masks or other face coverings and take other appropriate social distancing measures.

鈥淔ifty years ago Christopher Street West took to the streets of Hollywood Blvd in order to peacefully protest against police brutality and oppression,鈥 Estevan Montemayor, who is the organization鈥檚 president, said in a statement. 鈥淚t is our moral imperative to honor the legacy of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who bravely led the Stonewall uprising, by standing in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism and joining the fight for meaningful and long-lasting reform.鈥

On the event鈥檚 Facebook page, organizers stressed that the event will be a peaceful assembly.

Wednesday鈥檚 surprise announcement came just two days into a Pride Month that feels considerably less celebratory than in years past. As concerns about the spread of the coronavirus grew, Pride organizers in New York, San Francisco and other cities nationwide canceled all parades and in-person festivities. Meanwhile, theaters, clubs and other nightlife venues that also host LGBTQ-inclusive events throughout June have shuttered temporarily and, in some cases, permanently.

Still, many LGBTQ rights advocates said they have used their time in quarantine to reassess how they plan to acknowledge Pride 鈥 criticized in recent years for becoming too commercialized and corporation-driven 鈥 moving forward. The modern LGBTQ rights movement began symbolically with the 1969 Stonewall uprising, and some now say they鈥檝e been inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to focus more on protesting instead of partying.

鈥淣owadays, we鈥檝e been given a seat at the table of the powerful, and in our efforts not to lose that seat, we鈥檙e often reluctant to challenge it,鈥 New York drag icon Lady Bunny told HuffPost. 鈥淏asically, we need more fight and fewer weak hashtags and glitzy galas filled with straight celebs.鈥

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