UPDATE (Aug. 2, 2016, 6:37 p.m.): This statement was originally published Aug. 1, 2016, 5:49 p.m. Charlotte’s interim city manager officially declared the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade an “extraordinary event” on Aug. 2, 2016. The Additional Resources section of this statement has been updated to include a CMPD memo and the city’s extraordinary event declaration.
Charlotte Pride released this comment after the city manager’s declaration: “Charlotte Pride has always enjoyed a positive, proactive relationship with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and other city officials. We have been and will continue to engage in proactive conversations with CMPD and a diversity of community members to ensure a safe and enjoyable event for all attendees of the annual Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade. We look forward to joining tens of thousands of LGBTQ community members and our allies for two days of community celebration, enrichment and empowerment on Aug. 20 and 21 in Uptown Charlotte.”
- Charlotte Pride is keenly aware of the implications that increased policing may have on our LGBTQ community, especially for trans communities and people of color.
- To our knowledge the city has not yet made our event an extraordinary event this year.
- As we have in the past, we’ll continue to work with our community and CMPD to ensure all attendees feel safe and welcomed.
- We began reaching out several weeks ago to various stakeholders, including representatives from the local Movement for Black Lives, to discuss these concerns and are awaiting an opportunity to clarify these concerns with CMPD.
- Charlotte Pride is committed to the principles of inclusion and liberation which inform and inspire our annual event and our LGBTQ movement.
Charlotte Pride released the following statement on Aug. 1, 2016:
On August 1, 2016, members of our local LGBTQ community expressed legitimate concerns regarding the potential of increased police presence and security as the result of a possible declaration from the Charlotte city manager making the 2016 Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, scheduled for Aug. 20-21, 2016, an “extraordinary event” this year. To our knowledge, the city manager has not yet officially made this declaration.
In an ongoing effort to make our event more welcoming for all community members, we reached out several weeks ago to local community leaders when we felt like the festival and parade might be designated an extraordinary event this year. The festival and parade have successfully operated without this designation since the city created the extraordinary event ordinance in 2012. In that time, nearly every other major event in Uptown has received this designation. We were disappointed when we were informed on July 14, 2016, that this year’s festival and parade might be labeled an extraordinary event. If the city manager chooses to make this declaration, such a designation could heighten police security and presence at the festival. As an organization, we are keenly aware of the implications that increased policing may have on our LGBTQ community, especially for trans communities and people of color. As we have in the past, we will continue to proactively work with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to ensure that all attendees feel safe and welcomed. We will also continue to work with our community members to disseminate accurate information and integrate their concerns and solutions into a meaningful action plan that can inform this and other future Charlotte Pride events.
In the past several weeks, we began taking proactive steps to address these concerns, including scheduling meetings with representatives of the local Movement for Black Lives. These conversations began before we learned about the possibility of an extraordinary event status this year. Upon learning of this possibility, we again met with representatives from the Movement for Black Lives to hear their concerns and we began the process of discussing these concerns with CMPD and other city officials. We are still having those conversations today and will continue to have those conversations in order to ensure the safety and respect of all attendees at this year’s events. We are awaiting an opportunity to meet with CMPD in order to more fully address these concerns and receive clarity on what the extraordinary event declaration means for our event.
The board of Charlotte Pride has always been and will remain committed to the principles and values which underpin the historic origins of our annual Pride event and of our movement. Each year, our board formally commemorates the sacrifices of trans people, people of color, immigrants, young people, the homeless and other members of marginalized communities who stood up during the Stonewall Riots in June 1969. We are committed to all movements that seek to fully liberate our communities and ensure their full safety, inclusion and respect. These values have also led Charlotte Pride to support programs and projects led by and for LGBTQ people of color through our diverse programming and collaborative funding.
Charlotte Pride remains open to the concerns of our community as we continue to create programs and activities to enrich, empower, strengthen and make visible the unique lives and experiences of LGBTQ people in Charlotte and the Carolinas.