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River City Pride addresses concerns

Haneifah Ahmad, Reporter

The community began to grow some concern that the organization River City Pride has gone quiet following the events that occurred over George Floyd’s death.

River City Pride is a non-profit organization that celebrates Pride in Jacksonville. Their mission is to produce an annual event that brings the community together and encourages the LGBTQIA+ citizens to live and love openly. 

On June 7, River City Pride posted on Instagram addressing the concerns about police being involved in future festivities:

“Over the past few days, we have heard the concerns from our friends and neighbors in regards to how the national conversation on systemic racism and police violence affects River City Pride. We are a non-profit, safe-space organization that firmly stands for equality and justice. As we know, a black trans woman and many people of color founded our movement 51 years ago by resisting police violence at Stonewall. We stand with our Black and Brown communities during this moment and will continue to do so going forward. 

In regards to the question of whether particular entertainers have been blacklisted from Pride, let us be clear: this is not the case. Every year we try to provide opportunities to performers in order to consistently spotlight all talent, we never guarantee anyone a spot. All entertainers are welcome to apply every year, and we strive to create as inclusive a line-up as possible given the applicant pool. Last year’s event was our most diverse yet and we plan to continue to lift up the voices of queer people of color in the years ahead. 

Many have also raised the issue of the role the JSO LGBT+ Employee Network should participate in our parade. As an inclusive organization, we would never want to tell an LGBTQIA+ person in our community they are not welcome at Pride, but we understand the concerns that have been raised and are working hard to address them. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not know at this time what our options are to assemble will look like in the months ahead. Until then, we plan to have many conversations over the coming weeks and months with our partners, supporters, members of the community, and JSO itself about how to ensure everyone feels safe and no one is excluded. 

We know from our history that the LGBTQIA+ movement’s strength is in its diversity of people and opinions. We hope this is the beginning of more conversations about how to best support and represent everyone in our community. And as always, we will continue to pursue the mission upon which our organization was founded by fighting injustice in our community. 

#blacklivesmatters” 

Many people in the comments felt like the organization’s response wasn’t transparent enough and didn’t discuss police accountability. 

A user commented:

River City Pride didn’t address further comments and no details have been made on any events in the future.

___

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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