Pride festival features MPD in repudiation of No Justice No Pride’s message

Two years ago, No Justice No Pride blocked MPD, Lockheed-Martin, and Wells Fargo’s contingents in the Capitol Pride parade. While negotiations and promises resulted and the lead contingents of the parade were real community groups this year, much of the core message has been ignored. MPD’s “special Liason branch” was given a display position right at the entrance to the 2019 Capitol Pride festival. This is a direct repudiation of NJNP’s “no cops at Pride” posture.

In another repudiation of No Justice No Pride’s demands, Wells Fargo bank was listed as one of the sponsors again. Wells Fargo is infamous for both predatory lending and for their funding of the GEO Group, which is a private prison operator. GEO Group’s prisons are used by ICE and are also infamous for abuse of transgender people held captive in their dungeons.

Inviting Wells Fargo and GEO Group to Pride is equivalent to inviting not only the NYPD Vice Squad but their jailers too back to the Stonewall Inn. A combination of parade participant Mayor Bowser’s housing policies, Wells’s Fargo’s lending policies, MPD’s crackdowns on sex workers, and the Geo Group’s prisons to put sex workers in can be a very effective engine for replacing sex workers with shiny new condos for “New Washingtonians.” Almost everyone who fought at Stonewall would be on the menu and not at the table for this. It is no wonder the Dyke March had to march explicitly against displacement and for decriminalization of sex work. Nowhere did Capitol Pride make either demand.

Also present at the Festival was Gilead, the Big Pharma infamous for charging almost $100,000 for a full course of their drug to treat Hepatitis C. That infection is now entirely curable, but ONLY for those with $80,000 or more to spare or lots of health insurance coverage for high-priced, patented prescription drugs. Presumably Gilead does not discriminate, charging anyone with Hepatitis C the same outrageous prices no matter what their sexuality?

While the expected community groups were present at the festival, they were seriously outnumbered by corporate booths even though the crowd at Pride did not appear to be mostly or even half suit-and-tie types. Had all the corporate booths been removed and nothing added back, the Festival would have fit in a much smaller space. Perhaps not surprisingly in this environment, at least one group of three Trump supporters showed up, one even daring to wear a racist MAGA hat in an environment where it should not be welcome. Nothing was done about the MAGA-hatted racists for fear of starting another stampede if matters escalated.

Those who want more cops in Pride and who repudiate the message of sex workers and transgender folks resisting police aggression at Stonewall will no doubt attempt to exploit the stampede of June 8, 2019 in any future negotiations with No Justice No Pride or other community groups. Of course, police played no role in doing anything that could have prevented the stampede, which was essentially an accident. WTOP News reported on June 9 that the person cops arrested for possession of a BB gun states that he pulled it out when someone assaulted his partner. Someone mistook him for an active shooter and the stampede was on, probably to his utter surprise.


MPD “special Liason Branch” booth at entrance to the Pride Festival. Only the center position at the entrance is more valuble

The first Pride was a riot-and though police were most certainly present they were NOT invited

Gilead charges $80,000 for a course of pills to treat hepatitis C. We thought $20,000 per year HIV treatments were Big Pharma greed!

In Seattle Amazon is best known for causing incredible rent hikes with their demand for housing. Now they will be pushing Latinx and low income families out of Arlington.

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