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New York City Pride organizers announced on Saturday, May 22, that NYPD and other law enforcements are banned from participating in the annual pride parade until 2025, NBC reported.

Heritage of Pride, which organizes the annual event, said in a statement that police officers need to “acknowledge their harm and correct course moving forward.”

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The group is working on reducing the number of on-duty New York City officers and first responders by separating them from any NYC Pride event by “one city block,” CBS reported. In addition, the group stated they have increased their security budget for the June parade, using volunteers and private security to de-escalate situations. Pride will only use police officers when “absolutely necessary as mandated by city officials.” 

“NYC Pride seeks to create safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities at a time when violence against marginalized groups, specifically BIPOC and trans communities, has continued to escalate,” event organizers said in a statement Saturday. “NYC Pride is unwilling to contribute in any way to creating an atmosphere of fear or harm for members of the community. The steps being taken by the organization challenge law enforcement to acknowledge their harm and to correct course moving forward, in hopes of making an impactful change,” Buzzfeed reported. 

The Gay Officers Action League released a statement on Friday, claiming they were “disheartened” by the ban. The group even said the choice “to placate some of the activists in our community is shameful,” INTO reported. "Heritage of Pride is well aware that the city would not allow a large-scale event to occur without police presence," the league's president Brian Downey said. "So their response to activist pressure is to take the low road by preventing their fellow community members from celebrating their identities and honoring the shared legacy of the Stonewall Riots."

The parade is scheduled for June, after the pandemic put Pride events on hold last year. The first Pride Parades started in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco in 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots. What lead to the riots was the 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. The constant raids were a turning point for the establishment, which caused them to fight back; this major event sparked the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. 

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The NYC Pride parade is scheduled for June 27.

Top photo by Teddy Osterblom via Unsplash

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