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Uniting Pride says no police entries at CU Pride Parade

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CHAMPAIGN — The Uniting Pride Center, the organizer of the annual Pride parade in the Champaign/Urbana area, has said they will no longer allow police entries in the parade.

The center made the announcement in a press release and Facebook announcement on Monday.

The center said that they will no longer allow law enforcement agencies as entries in the parade and would continue to disallow uniformed police from marching in the parade. They also said they would talk with the city of Champaign about using alternatives to squad cars for parade marshaling and blocking traffic.

Police can attend as a member of the LGBTQ community or ally, but only plain-clothed.

Uniting Pride acknowledged that there has been silencing of Black and brown voices in the community, even as the Stonewall uprising was lead by Black and brown transgender women.

They listed the following to make themselves accountable:

  • Openly supporting the work of groups working against racism and/or on behalf of youth and communities of color (e.g., signing on to petitions, attending events, co-sponsoring events).
  • Ensuring that we advertise our events and meetings in ways likely to reach LGBTQ+ people of color.
  • Collaborating with organizations and groups that employ and work with people of color
  • Ensuring that our meeting spaces are accessible and welcoming to people of color.
  • Including people of color in all aspects of our work.
  • Actively valuing multiple perspectives in our discussions and decision-making.
  • Educating ourselves and our colleagues about oppression and privilege in a systemic way through staff development and ongoing conversations.
  • Reviewing our organizations’ mission and vision statements and goals to determine if there are ways that our organizations can more directly address racism.
  • Seeking input from groups focused on serving communities of color on strategy development.

The center is doing this in solidarity with protests across the country in support of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and other Black people who have been killed by police, as well as Aleyah Lewis, who was beaten and arrested by the Urbana police who responding to an unrelated 911 call. They also stated they were taking the arrest of 27 protesters who were arrested by police in riot gear into consideration.

Uniting Pride also the community to take action on local and national issues:

  • Demand justice for Aleyah Lewis and meaningful accountability through Urbana’s Citizen Police Review Board.
  • Donate to the Champaign County Bailout Coalition so they can continue to free those held unjustly in high COVID risk facilities.
  • Contact Champaign County State’s Attorney to demand that the 27 protestors arrested on May 31st have all charges dropped.
  • Stay in the fight with beyond this week and this month.

The announcement comes just days after the board of Indy Pride in Indianapolis announced that police would no longer have a presence at future events.

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