Stonewall Columbus said they wanted to hear people’s concerns about racism, transphobia and homophobia on Monday night — and, well, they got it.
Maybe even more than they asked for.
After a peaceful demonstration outside the event at the Northland Performing Arts Complex on the Northeast Side, more than 100 LBGTQ people of color took their complaints inside the building to show their support of the four black protesters arrested by Columbus police for blocking Stonewall’s Pride Parade a month ago.
Dressed all in black, the protesters flooded the performing arts center chanting “Stonewall should have done more. Drop the charges against the Black Pride 4.” But unlike the Pride festivities, no one was arrested Monday night, though tensions ran high at times.
“We understand we hijacked the community conversation,” said Wriply Bennet, one of the four arrested on June 17 who are going by the nickname the #BlackPride4. “If any of you didn’t come for this you can go.”
But before they considered leaving, Bennet asked the group to think about whether they were at the event to hear first-hand how some in LGBTQ feel marginalized or were they simply there to “ease their guilt.”
While a few people left, most of the approximately 200 people in attendance chose to stay to hear what the group had to say.
The #BlackPride4, Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus and several others staged the “Shame on Stonewall” demonstration to shine light on what they called an all too real problem: police brutality on people of color, especially transgender individuals.
The groups said Stonewall Columbus has not only refused to hear them out behind closed doors at a private meeting but has also neglected to provide any tangible support for the individuals arrested by police at Pride.
“The conversation so far has been insulting,” said Dkeama Alexis, one of two founders of Black Queer & Intersectional…