Citing a responsibility to “address systemic inequities as well as listen and support the brown and black community,” the Board of Directors of Indy Pride has announced it will no longer contract with or utilize police departments for security at the Indy Pride Festival and other events, unless necessary for road closures.
In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement, Indy Pride has cancelled all of its virtual Pride Month events in June, with the exception of the Indy Pride Virtual Festival on Saturday, June 20. In a website posting the Board said, “We believe that Black Lives Matter. The Indy Pride Virtual Festival will uplift black and brown people in our community, spotlight their stories, and showcase their contributions to our community. We are intentionally using our social media platforms to amplify the voices of brown and black people.”
The decision to sever ties with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department stems from the thought that “Indy Pride is meant to be a safe place where people celebrate LGBTQ+ uniqueness, history, and build community. For many in our community who have experienced police brutality, the presence of uniformed officers and police at Pride do not create this safe environment.”
In the future, Indy Pride will deal with city police only when traffic control mandated by the city is involved. Otherwise, IMPD will not participate in the event. Security will be provided by private security firms with the objective of maintaining a safe environment for all attendees.
“We know there are many in our community who are law enforcement professionals and you are welcome at our events and still part of our community,” the Indy Pride Board said. “However, we respectfully request that you do not wear your uniform at the Indy Pride Festival or other events. It is important now more than ever to remember the first Pride marches were protests against police brutality led by brown and black people. This is the time for our community to listen to communities affected by violence, to protest with them, and to support them in all ways possible.
For the complete Indy Pride open letter, go to https://indypride.org/2020/06/04/black-lives-matter-pride-month-beyond-police-at-pride/.
Report 2: City to remove Confederate memorial from Garfield Park
Three years after Indy Parks decided a monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers from Garfield Park would be removed – pending needed fund-raising – the decision has been made to stop waiting for the money.
Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Thursday that the monument would be gone soon. The monument, which honors Confederate soldiers who died at a Union prison camp in Indianapolis, has been at the Southern Avenue entrance to Garfield Park for the past century, after it was moved from its original location at Greenlawn Cemetery.
“Our streets are filled with voices of anger and anguish, testament to centuries of racism directed at Black Americans,” Hogsett said. “We must name these instances of discrimination and never forget our past – but we should not honor them. Whatever original purpose this grave marker might once have had, for far too long it has served as nothing more than a painful reminder of our state’s horrific embrace of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago. For some time, we have urged that this grave monument belongs in a museum, not in a park, but no organization has stepped forward to assume that responsibility. Time is up, and this grave marker will come down.”
The grave monument was commissioned in 1912 in Greenlawn Cemetery to commemorate Confederate prisoners of war who died while imprisoned at Camp Morton in Indianapolis. It was moved to Garfield Park in 1928 following efforts by public officials, active in the KKK, who sought to “make the monument more visible to the public.” In 2017, the Indianapolis Parks Board passed a resolution to remove the monument once funding was secured. The city is identifying a source of funding, with the expected cost of the project ranging from approximately $50,000 – $100,000.