Police, Pride, QTPOC
To Queer/Trans People of Color (QTPOC), as well as the LGBT+ community at large,
We hear you, loud and clear, and hold ourselves accountable for the hurt that we have incurred related to the issue of police in Pride.
Our community is facing complex, unprecedented times, where power is a fleeting commodity for our most vulnerable members, especially queer and transgender persons of color. In times like these it is crucial that we listen to those whose voices are not often heard in the mainstream. Those whose voices are silenced due to gender and sexual orientation, as well as the intersections of race, class, ethnicity, gender, ability, immigration status, age, and lack of institutional power, need us to amplify their voices.
It is with this recognition that the OutReach Board of Directors have unanimously decided to withdraw the Pride Parade applications from the Madison Police Department (MPD) Employee Resource Group (ERG)/University of Wisconsin Police Department (UWPD) ERG, and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney. These contingents will not march in the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade and we will be refunding all monies collected from the contingents. We hope that our actions help to create meaningful dialogue between the police, the ERG’s, the Dane County Sheriff, and the QTPOC and greater LGBT+
community they are serving.
This decision supersedes our previous position detailed in our statement released on August 3rd, 2018.
Armed, uniformed MPD officers will continue to work security for the OutReach Pride Parade as our City of Madison Parade Permit requires. We invite off-duty, unarmed, plain clothes MPD and UWPD officers, Sheriff Mahoney, and their families to attend the parade and rally as members of the LGBT+ community and allies. We also invite off-duty, unarmed, plain clothes LGBT+ members of the MPD and UWPD to march as LGBT+ civilians in the parade.
We recognize that not everyone will be happy with this decision. It is our hope that those who are hurt by this decision use that hurt for growth and to approach that hurt with humility, rather than retaliate or create further divisions between those with institutional power and those struggling to exist.
These issues are complicated, and we know that this will not be solved in one day, one week, or perhaps even within a year. However, it is our hope that our actions draw attention to the gravity of the situation, and that our calls to action do not fall on deaf ears.
We encourage those interested in creating a dialogue attend the Madison Police Department’s MPD Pride Listening Session Monday August 13th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at Madison Central Library in Room 301.
We know that there is more work OutReach must do within the LGBT+ community. We hope through our actions we can repair fractured relationships and reaffirm the mission and values of the organization.
Instead of apologies or excuses, we offer a promise. We promise to do better by the LGBT+ community through action.
Thank you for your support,
OutReach Board President, on behalf of the OutReach Board of Directors