We had the largest number of volunteers serving on our Peacekeepers team this year. Seventeen people ranging in age from young to old showed up to help keep the peace during Spokane’s 25th Anniversary Pride Day parade and festival. Some followed alongside the parade route while others monitored the religious protestor’s circle at the park entrance, forming a human, porous, barrier between them and the thousands of beautiful individuals and families who showed up to celebrate their love and respect for the LGBTQ community. Peacekeepers served to remind folks not to engage with the hateful rhetoric and, in a few instances, to calm down bitter feelings and urges to escalate the tension into physical acting out against the religious agitators.
In all, it was a peaceful gathering of open hearted people who by far outnumbered the heterosexist ranters and ravers.
A long day of music, food, community booths for children, youth, and adults culminated with fireworks at 10pm at the park clock tower which was bathed in rainbow light.
We didn’t discover until the morning that as we ended the evening of a wonderful Pride Day, a massacre of queer people of color was taking place in Florida.
This brutal reminder of our vulnerability is a watershed moment in our progressive movement history. The nation is struggling with how to comprehend the enormity of this crime because the concept of intersectionality is never covered by media nor politicians. But progressives understand what it means to work at the intersection of identities. We share the grief of the nation. We want to express our love and support for those in our community who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, genderqueer, two-spirit and gender non-conforming and particularly to queer and trans folks of color.
We believe grief is best served when we let it move us into meaningful action. When we do it to honor those we have lost and those who will inherit the world, our peace movement work takes on a clarity of focus for the healing action of justice.