Columbus Community Pride is focused on three central issues that inform and are informed by every aspect of Community Pride. We have compiled and consolidated these issues from conversations and meetings we had with community members prior to the first Community Pride celebration in 2018. The below points serve as guiding principles for Community Pride.
1. We center queer, trans, and intersex people of color (QTIPOC) and other marginalized communities.
As made clear by Stonewall Columbus’ (SWC) lacking and tone-deaf responses to the #BlackPride4, SWC, the organization that puts on Columbus Pride, does not stand for marginalized groups in their community. Likewise, LGBTQIA+ organizations in Columbus lack an adequate amount of people of color on their boards and staff, leaving people of color unrepresented and overlooked. People of color have been shunned from the larger LGBTQIA+ community, leaving them without access to the resources that cisgender, white, upper-middle class LGBTQIA+ people have. Additionally, people who are immigrants, poor, disabled, sex workers, and of other marginalized groups face oppression from multiple angles.
By focusing on intersectionality by default, we bring to the forefront those who are often forgotten by one-dimensional movements. Community Pride 2018 puts the needs and wants of QTIPOC at the forefront in order to celebrate the lives of and provide services for QTIPOC in Central Ohio.
2. We condemn all aspects of state-sanctioned violence, including but not limited to police brutality, the prison industrial complex, job insecurity, food insecurity, unfair working conditions, and sexual assault.
The Columbus Division of Police is one of the most violent police forces in the U.S., ranking itself at the top of police departments in murdering Black people. CPD also has a history of responding with undue force to peaceful protesters. Trans people of color are killed at alarming rates in the U.S. and abroad, and too often their murderers walk away unscathed. At the same time, trans folks face housing discrimination and homelessness; one in five trans people have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is actively forcing people out of the U.S. – primarily immigrants of color. We condemn forced deportations and support those struggling against them such as Edith Espinal, a woman who has been in sanctuary in Columbus for months to fight against unjust deportation.
Institutional forces such as those mentioned above have wreaked havoc on our communities both locally and nationally. We will not stand idly by while our siblings are harmed by the state. We will not collaborate with the Columbus Division of Police for Community Pride, and we will hire Black-owned private security to keep our community safe from institutional forces.
3. We support grassroots social justice work and community advocacy over money-hungry corporations.
Locally, we have seen that corporations that are meant to advocate for the community have continually failed us. SWC allowed the brutalization of QTIPOC by police at their Pride parade in 2017 and have done nothing to diminish the charges against the #BlackPride4. Columbus City Council, the legislative branch of the city, are meant to represent and support their constituents; However, through an appointment process that happens behind closed doors and away from public opinion, City Council evades its need to represent inhabitants of Columbus.
We have found time and time again that if we want change, it must come from the community, not organizations with corporate money and power. We will not take any corporate sponsorship for Community Pride; we solely take donations.