In May, leaders of Pride Houston announced that though they had previously stated the city’s annual LGBTQIA Pride Parade and Festival would be postponed until Fall 2020, due to the spread of COVID-19.
On June 11, Pride Houston announced it would be holding a march through downtown on June 27, 9 a.m. ’til 3 p.m. in support of the global outcry for justice following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Force officers. The event is titled “It Started with a Riot! Pride Houston 2020 Equality March + Rally at Houston City Hall.”
Pride Houston posted the following message on the group’s Facebook page: “For over forty years, Pride Houston, Inc. has been an institution in Houston’s LGBTQIA+ community. Now, in 2020 it is an institution led by a diverse board of directors and production team. This team, this board, our volunteers, and every member of our community are affected by the racial injustices not only in the abstract, but personally as it continues to happen here in the streets of our own city and beyond. We are vigilantly aware that our own ability to celebrate our Pride and our progress as LGBTQIA+ people cannot be taken for granted when protesters of similar and related movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, take to the streets. It is with a determined mind that we at Pride Houston, Inc. have decided that this year’s Pride Celebration will be a rally and march at Houston City Hall on June 27, 2020. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to recognize that Pride is not colorblind to the brutality of the world we are living in today.”
“The task at hand is not only an issue for Black Lives but for everyone including the LGBTQIA community,” said Shannon Baldwin, Harris County Judge. ‘Black Lives are entitled to a seat at the table, to eat well and to breathe! Black Lives Matter!’
Pride Houston, Inc. is aware of the responsibility not only to the intersecting Black and Brown people of the community, but also to all Black and Brown people throughout the world. In fact, the very movement that spawned our ability to celebrate Pride and one of our nation’s most notorious displays of protest took place outside the Stonewall Inn 51 years ago.
The Stonewall Riots were the result of the resilience of the Black LGBTQIA+ community. We thank the many queer and transgender people of color who have led the uphill battle over the decades. It is because of their fearlessness and resilience in the face of such violent adversity and police brutality that we are able to not only celebrate our Pride every June at Stonewall’s anniversary, but to continue our fight for progress every single day of the year.
“The George Floyd murder met us at a time where we as a community fully understand that All Black Lives Matter. Thus, the Black Lives Matter movement is also an LGBTQ movement. Our legacy of Stonewall reminds us that great change comes at a cost” said Harrison Guy, Chair Emeritus, Mayor Sylvester Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board.
“Now it is time to take a stand and fight AGAIN against the homophobia, against the racism and against the cruel and illegal structures of power that discriminate against queer people and against people of color,’ said Lo Roberts, President & CEO Pride Houston, Inc.
“Our organization’s logo has been revamped to not only include the traditional Pride rainbow, but a rainbow that includes black and brown stripes, as well as the blue, pink, and white stripes representative of our trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming
“We welcome all Houstonians and city officials to join us in this rally to show solidarity and incite change. Our own fight for equality — one that still requires a tireless fight every day — began with assembly and protests. We will overcome and succeed as a community, as a family that stands together, queer, black, ally, trans, gender non-conforming, immigrants, all united. Our voices are louder together. Together we march to raise the voices of the queer community. And together we march to say BLACK LIVES MATTER and BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER!”
The message continued, saying march and rally participants could expect speakers from the movement, including community leaders who have devoted their advocacy to righting the wrongs of the police who have taken innocent Black lives.
There will be volunteers along the route to pass out healthy snacks, distribute water, encourage the use of and dispense hand sanitizer, as well as handing out free masks for those who may not have one. The statement concluded with Pride Houston’s pledge to “our advocates safe and healthy in these uncertain times due to the ever-present threat of COVID-19.”