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Indy Pride, the LGBTQ Pride organization for the Indianapolis metro area, last week announced that it will no longer have a uniformed police presence at its events, including the Indy Pride Festival.
“Indy Pride will no longer contract with or utilize police departments for security at the Indy Pride Festival and other events, unless necessary for road closures,” the organization said in a statement. In lieu of utilizing local police forces, Indy Pride will hire private security to ensure the safety of all attendees.
The decision was motivated by organizers’ desire to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement — and other activists throughout the country — to protest systemic racism, racial profiling, and police brutality, and was part of an effort to center Black Americans at the forefront of discussions around those issues, reports Indianapolis ABC affiliate RTV6.
Individual police officers may participate in and attend Pride, but will be asked not to wear their uniform, out of a concern that it may trigger attendees who have had negative interactions with police.
“We know there are many in our community who are law enforcement professionals and you are welcome at our events and still part of our community; however, we respectfully request that you do not wear your uniform at the Indy Pride Festival or other events,” Indy Pride said in its statement.
In acknowledgment of the ongoing protests going on throughout the nation, and the importance of addressing the country’s racial problems, Indy Pride has canceled almost all of its virtual events, which were created to supplement in-person events that were scuttled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the organization will move forward with its Virtual Pride Festival on Saturday, June 20.
“At Indy Pride, we believe that Black Lives Matter. The Indy Pride Virtual Festival will uplift black and brown people in our community, spotlight their stories, and showcase their contributions to our community,” the organization said.
“It is important now more than ever to remember the first Pride marches were protests against police brutality led by brown and black people. This is the time for our community to listen to communities affected by violence, to protest with them, and to support them in all ways possible.”
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