The following is a press release we received from representatives for The Black Pride 4
“For immediate release
#BLACKPRIDE4 TO GO TO TRIAL ON FEBRUARY 5th
AFTER NON-VIOLENT PROTEST
On Saturday, June 17, 2017, several Black queer and trans people gathered with their allies at the “Columbus Pride Festival” in Columbus, Ohio, with the intent of silently blocking the parade for seven minutes. This action was planned with the intent to protest the acquittal of Jeronimo Yañez, the Minnesota police officer who killed Philando Castile in 2016, as well as to shed light on the lack of safe spaces for Black and brown people in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Though the protestors’ method was a silent, non-violent demonstration, less than two minutes after the roadblock had been initiated the Columbus Police Department assaulted protesters with mace, bicycles, and brute force. Four Black protesters, now known as the #BlackPride4, were targeted and arrested: Wriply Bennet, Deandre Miles, Ashley Braxton, and Kendall Denton. Three of the four individuals (Bennet, Braxton, and Denton) face misdemeanor charges. Deandre Miles faces a heinous charge of aggravated robbery, a felony of the first degree.
On Monday, February 5th, after months of community outrage, the #BlackPride4 start trial for these manufactured charges. We call for community members to join us in supporting the #BP4 by rallying outside the Franklin County Courthouse on 2/5. After the rally, we will join the #BP4 inside the courthouse to kick off weeklong court support efforts.
We also call on members of the Columbus and greater Ohio community members to show up and pack the court for the #BP4 each day that they are in trial. More details on the rally and court support can be found here.
“Though it is considered a hub for the LGBTQ community, Columbus’s people of color face discrimination and inequality. Police violence is rampant, according to a report earlier this year: Since 2013, the Columbus Division of Police has killed 28 people, 21 of whom were black, and over two dozen lawsuits are currently filed against the department, many claiming civil rights violations.” –– Teen Vogue
“During the demonstration, the protesters linked arms and stepped into the street. Video footage then shows Columbus Police officers using mace on protesters, pushing them back with their bikes and tackling them to the ground.” –– Columbus Alive
STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT
“Stonewall Uprising was a protest against police brutality targeting queer youth and trans women. I honor the legacy and work of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who sparked a fight against police brutality […] I stand in support of the #BlackPride4 and demand all charges be dropped immediately.” –– Jennicet Gutierrez, La Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
“Today we demand justice for the #BlackPride4 who were rammed with police bikes, maced, and shoved to the ground within the first two minutes of exercising their First Amendment rights. They too believe in a Pride that honors the struggle against racism, queerphobia, and transphobia, and were arrested with bogus charges of misdemeanors ranging from resisting arrest to disorderly conduct.” –– Hoods4Justice
“We vehemently advocate for the demands of the #BlackPride4, and, consistent with the DISCO Graduate Caucus goals, full justice for individuals at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, nation, class, and ability. The violence and racism experienced by #BlackPride4 is part of the systemic oppression that the DISCO Graduate Caucus works to identify, critique, and resist both on and off Ohio State University’s campus.” –– DISCO Graduate Caucus
“We are devastated and appalled by the video of Columbus Police assaulting these non-violent protesters. Wriply, Ashley, Kendall, and Deandre went to the Pride parade to raise their voices to the Columbus LGBTQ community, and were met with the same violence and anti-Blackness that killed Charleena Lyles, Raelynn Thomas, Brittany Nicole Kidd-Stergis, Tamir Rice, and so many other names that we have been chanting in the streets. The actions taken by police during Columbus Pride are further evidence that police forces have no incentive or ability to keep our communities safe — especially queer and trans people of color.” –– GetEqual.
WITH FURTHER SUPPORT FROM
2017 Stonewall Columbus Pride Planning Committee Members
Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Org
Central Ohio Street Medic Collective
Columbus Bi Local
Jewish Voices for Peace Central Ohio
Kaleidoscope Youth Center
Lori Gum (Stonewall Columbus’ former Program and Pride Coordinator)
No Justice No Pride
Trans Liberation Collective
TGI Justice Project
Chicago Black Trans and Gender Nonconforming Collective
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)