Washington, DC, June 11, 2020 – Today, a coalition of DC LGBTQ+ organizations announced they will collaborate to host a conversation and educational webinar on calls to Divest/Defund police department budgets. This conversation will provide a space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to gather and learn more about this call to action and how to better support Black communities in this effort. Black Lives Matter, and the LGBTQ+ community must actively work to combat white supremacy and systematic racism.
“Given that Pride was born from an uprising sparked by police brutality against the LGBTQ+ community, particularly Black and Brown Trans women, we feel this discussion is a fitting way to honor Pride this year,” said Ashley Smith, Board President, the Capital Pride Alliance.
The Capital Pride Alliance and The DC Center for the LGBT Community will host the conversation as part of the Pride Talks series. The other collaborating organizations include, the ANC (Advisory Neighborhood Commission) Rainbow Caucus, Casa Ruby, Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, GLAA, HIPS, Latinx History Project, KhushDC, Rainbow Families, SMYAL, Stonewall Kickball DC, The Wanda Alston Foundation, Team DC, Whitman-Walker Health, Whitman-Walker – Institute, and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. The discussion will take place on Monday, June 15th at 5:30 pm, with individuals in need of instructions for English to Spanish language translation invited to join at 5:15 pm. “As an LGBTQ+ community, we have done heavy engagement and have leaned heavily on the Black community on issues of importance such as marriage equality or non-discrimination laws, many of which had little public support in the beginning of those efforts,” said Sultan Shakir, Executive Director of SMYAL. “Now it’s important that the LGBTQ+ community listen and learn about issues that are literally life or death for Black people, including Black Queer people.”
During the first installment of Pride Talks on June 8th, several participants asked questions about what #DefundMPD entails and how it would impact the community, spurring this more in-depth second Pride Talks event. During this conversation, panelists, DC Council Ward 4 Democratic Nominee Janeese Lewis George, Preson Mitchum, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Beth Wheeler, Psychotherapist, Equity Educator and White Anti-Racist Advocate and Director of Edges Education and Consulting, and additional panelists to be confirmed, will help to educate the community and discuss how the Divest/Defund proposals impact police departments and how that applies in the local DC context. There will be a specific focus on the DC budget and how to engage in upcoming DC Council Budget Hearings on the $18.5 million increase to the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) budget while other programs see significant cuts. There are many misconceptions around the call to defund MPD and this event will provide the community with the data and background information needed to weigh in on this important topic.
“I’m glad that we have the opportunity to host this event to clarify what activists and community organizations are asking of the DC Government, and why it is so important,” shared Rehana Mohammed, Board Chair of the DC Center. “The LGBTQ+ community must continue to step up and support these efforts to keep our communities safe, not over-policed.”
If you would like to join the upcoming conversation, register here.