“And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Today, the first day of Pride Month, as the nation rages and mourns in the wake of stolen black lives, I can’t help but reflect on our shared experiences. Pride was a 3-day riot against legal state-sanctioned police violence long before it was a celebration.
To this day we are not free. To this day we are not equal.
The work our LGBTQ community does every single day to fight and advocate for equality and justice for all is vital, necessary work. San Diego Pride’s year-round education and advocacy programs serve that mission.
Pride Celebrations, where we dare to bravely cast our love and joy into the daylight, are themselves acts of protest. The first Pride marches were called “Christopher Street Liberation Day Marches,” but their names changed over time. Our movement chose the word “Pride” in protest and opposition to the weaponized word “shame” that was used to dehumanize us with dire consequences.
During the Holy Week Uprising of 1968, the nation was moved to riot upon learning of the assassination of black civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1969, our community fought back against police violence at Stonewall. A riot we commemorate and honor every year.
The White Night riots in 1979, sparked by a lack of justice for LGBTQ civil rights leader Harvey Milk.
Now, George Floyd Protests have sparked across the world, calling out for justice and an end to the killing of innocent black lives.
Every LGBTQ person should be taking a stand against anti-black racism and acting to end the violence against our black siblings everywhere. We at San Diego Pride continue to be committed to that hard and meaningful work.
Solidarity. Arm-in-arm. Fighting oppression together. That is our path to liberation.
We are diverse. Our villains are the same.
United we stand. Divided we fall. Together we rise.
Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs Executive Director San Diego Pride
George Floyd. Say his name. Tony McDade. Say his name. Breonna Taylor. Say her name. Ahmaud Arbery. Say his name.
Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list, but a starting point of Black-led organizations serving our community.
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.