Madison, Wisconsin law enforcement groups have had their applications rescinded and will not be allowed in the city’s upcoming Pride parade after receiving push-back from social justice activists in the LGBT community.
OutReach LGBT Community Center board member Jill Nagler told the Wisconsin State Journal that LGBT community members voiced concerns about feeling unsafe with officers participating armed and in uniform. OutReach announced Friday that event organizers are rescinding parade applications from Madison and University of Wisconsin-Madison police and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
Parade organizer Michael Ruiz issued a statement: “Our community is facing complex, unprecedented times, where power is a fleeting commodity for our most vulnerable members, especially queer and transgender persons of color…Those whose voices are silenced due to gender and sexual orientation, as well as the intersections of race, class, ethnicity, gender, ability, immigration status, age and lack of institutional power, need us to amplify their voices.”
Madison native Jason Harwood said he understands the concerns of LGBT people of color. But says police have supported the community in the past and should not be given their walking papers.
“I want them to continue to march. I think they should have the right to march in the parade,” Harwood said. “They’re at every fundraiser I’ve ever gone to here. They’re at sporting events. They make themselves known so you can feel safe. What they’re asking them to do is remove them from the parade, which shouldn’t happen.”
A recent poll shows that nearly 2/3’s of the LGBT community who participated DO NOT agree with banning police from marching at PRIDE
Madison police Lt. Brian Chaney Austin, who founded Madison Police Department Pride, said he’s disappointed but hopes to further dialogue between the groups.
“There were some hearts broken (by OutReach’s decision), there were some tears shed, but we know there’s work that needs to be done and we want to take that on,” Austin said.
The Madison, Wisconsin Fire Department issued a statement Monday saying it stands in solidarity with Madison Police and will not participate in the Pride Parade.
Despite the banning Police will still be on hand for security.
The parade is August 19.