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DC march co-chairs named

by Sari Staver

People marched on the National Mall at the Millennium<br>March on Washington, D.C. April 30, 2000. Photo: Rick Gerharter
People marched on the National Mall at the Millennium
March on Washington, D.C. April 30, 2000. Photo: Rick Gerharter  

A dozen LGBT leaders have been named national co-chairs of the June 11 march in Washington, D.C.

Now officially called the Equality March for Unity and Pride, updates on the event can be found on its Facebook page,

A website is "forthcoming," according to a statement sent to the Bay Area Reporter by Sue Doster, co-president of the International Association of Pride Organizations and a co-chair of the march.

The march will not be limited to a one-day event in Washington, D.C., the statement said, as it has planned for solidarity events across the world throughout June, typically recognized as Pride Month. The D.C. march coincides with the district's Pride festivities.

"Together we will continue to propel beyond a march but a movement for years to come, resisting and fighting for our communities' rights, dignity, and safety," the statement said.

The co-chairs "will help shape the mission and vision of the march by elevating the voices of those most underserved, ensuring that in these trying times our communities can come together, march in solidarity, and demand equity, representation, protection of our most vulnerable, and safeguarding the many triumphs our communities have gained in the previous years while working towards championing many more," according to the statement.

The statement alludes to the dissatisfaction of many activists about the commercialization of LGBT Pride.

"We come into this work critical of our movement and with the need to heal from the historic neglect and erasure of our underserved communities' realities and contributions," the statement read. "We acknowledge that to find strength from diversity and to foster unity requires centering transgender and gender expansive communities, as well as people of color and immigrants from all sexualities and genders."

In addition to Doster, the national co-chairs are: Anika Simpson, Ph.D., founder, Beyond Policy LLC; Ashley Smith, Capital Pride Alliance; Catalina Velasquez, consultant; David Bruinooge, founder, the Equality March for Unity and Pride; Elle Hearns, executive director, Marsha P. Johnson Institute; Jose L. Plaza, president, Latino GLBT History Project; Lydia X.Z. Brown, chairperson, Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council; Lynnette McFadzen, president, BiNet USA; Nicole Murray Ramirez, International Court System U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico; Sean Coleman, executive director, Destination Tomorrow; and Thomas Tonatiuh Lopez, International Indigenous Youth Council.

When the June 11 march was announced earlier this year, Doster said that representatives from Pride groups seemed to be supportive of the new event, although some feared it could detract from their local Pride celebrations.

George Ridgely, executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, said in a statement to the B.A.R. this week, that it's "unclear whether the D.C. march will have any impact on our attendance. We are seeing a lot of excitement and interest in this year's SF Pride event and nearly 100 contingents have already signed up for the Parade."

Longtime gay activist Cleve Jones had planned a community meeting for Wednesday, April 26, to discuss a "Resist" contingent for the San Francisco parade, but last week he canceled the room reservation at the Women's Building and indicated he was no longer involved.

While Jones has declined further comment, Facebook messages by community grand marshal Alex U. Inn were critical of him.

"Then you just totally side step me as this is the Grand Marshal's contingent," Inn wrote. "A group of us have been meeting and planning with Folkz at Pride for over a month. Some weeks almost daily. Where have you been?"

Ridgely and Pride board President Michelle Meow sent an email to Jones April 22 apologizing for the "breakdown" in communication and taking "full responsibility."

Ridgely told the B.A.R. that there are no "significant changes" planned for this year's Pride celebration June 24-25. Organizers are expecting a large turnout" and "remain focused on producing an engaging and inclusive array of speakers, entertainment, and community gathering spaces, along with the parade and march," he stated.





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