LGBT Community Center Staff Fight Back Against Uniformed Officers Being Allowed at Sacramento PRIDE

Update: Staff members with the Sacramento LGBT Community Center released a statement Thursday night saying they have taken a no-confidence vote against their Board of Directors following the decision to allow officers in uniform to attend PRIDE events: 

We wholeheartedly disagree with the decision that this concession to the police force is a powerful symbolic and visual cue that prioritizes those with the most power and influence over our most marginalized community members whether they are transgender, nonbinary, Black, Brown and other POC folks, intersex, undocumented, disabled, unhoused, sex workers and others in the community that are often ignored, misgendered, abused and murdered by folks in SacPD and other law enforcement uniforms.

They have asked for the immediate resignation of Carlos Marquez, the board’s president, and any board members who agreed to allow officers to march in their uniforms instead of plainclothes or clothes with logos and brands.

The request at the bottom of the release demanded a written response by the Board of Directors by 8 p.m. Thursday “or collective action will take place.”

SACRAMENTO — A new agreement between the LGBTQ community and the Sacramento Police Department will allow uniformed officers to participate in PRIDE events this weekend.

On Thursday, a joint press release between the Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento LGBT Community Center announced the policy reversal.

Organizers of the festival had previously banned uniformed police officers from attending the festivities in order to accommodate those “who experience anxiety and fear provoked by the uniform.”

Carlos Marquez, the Sacramento LGBT Community Center Board President, explained why previous incidents led them to uninvite uniformed officers.

“The Stonewall riots were an uprising against law enforcement led by transgender women of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and queer youth, many of them poor, against unjust raids, abuses and violence. Fifty years later, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that the vestiges of indifference, fear and bias from that period still lurk within our City today. We cannot be surprised when those for whom law enforcement has been historically and disproportionately applied are stricken with fear by the sight of a uniform nor can we be surprised when banning that uniform doesn’t bring about the deeper change we seek. This partnership is about healing and propelling us forward.”

In the release, Police Chief Daniel Hahn expressed the two groups’ commonalities and shared desires:

“It’s a complex landscape but ultimately boils down to a simple shared desire: we all want to be accepted for who we are and to feel safe and welcome in our own communities. As a Department, we are committed to continue our work with the Center on connectedness, youth programs, collaborative community forums, liaison enhancement, policy revision, education and long-lasting relationships.”

Under their new agreement, the two organizations will create and implement new strategies to further build and sustain trust between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community.

The changes include the following:

  • Community Advisory Committee – Establish a standing LGBTQ Community Advisory Committee to examine and recommend policies and best practices that improve service delivery to the LGBTQ community, and remove all barriers for LGBTQ individuals, especially for transgender individuals, to safely and effectively engage with law enforcement;
  • New Officer Training – Co-create an LGBTQ-focused community engagement training for all new officers that elevates the voices of marginalized LGBTQ community members and discusses the role of implicit bias;
  • Community Forums – Organize ongoing LGBTQ community forums that include the Chief of Police, the Executive Director or board president of the Center, LGBTQ police officers, and interested LGBTQ community members;
  • Enhanced LGBTQ Liaison Position – Enhance LGBTQ representation in the Department’s outreach unit to include an LGBTQ Liaison Officer. Along with the community, the liaison will advocate and assist in updating and creating policies, procedures, and track current laws as well as state and national LGBTQ community trends;
  • Center Complaint/Reporting Program – Establish a program within the Center for community members to report crimes and/or complaints to the Department in an accurate, timely, and affirming manner.

Sacramento PRIDE will take place June 8-9 at Capitol Mall.

 

 

 

 

 

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