ACTIVATE:CHI drops plans for solidarity march tied to Pride Sunday following controversy

Fri. June 26, 2020 11:12 PM by News Staff

cancellation statement posted by activate:chi

photo credit // facebook

Separately-planned protest march for Sunday gains support

ACTIVATE:CHI, a grassroots activist organization, late Friday announced that it is dropping plans for a solidarity march this Sunday following concerns raised by Brave Space Alliance, a Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ organization located on the South Side of Chicago.

The march, titled "Black Trans Lives Matter: A BLM Pride Protest," was slated to start in Uptown at 11 a.m. and proceed to a rally in Grant Park on June 28, the original date of Chicago's annual Pride Parade, which was canceled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But on Friday afternoon, Brave Space Alliance shared concerns over the planning for the march in a statement posted to Facebook:

“It has come to our attention that the organizers of this march, Activate Chi, have disturbing ties to White-owned businesses and institutions in Chicago that have historically upheld anti-Blackness and transphobia in the queer and trans community, and across the city.

“Furthermore, as planning for the march proceeded, it became clear to Brave Space Alliance that we were being tokenized at this event, and deployed for clout by the organizers. Black trans voices are not sufficiently centered at this event, which purports to be about Black Trans Lives mattering. Their claim that Black Trans Lives matter to them is so false, that individuals who are NOT Black trans individuals, or even QUEER individuals, are being centered at the event, and being given a stage that should belong to our community, and our community alone.

“Most concerningly, it has been brought to our attention that this march is not, in fact protesting police brutality, the presence of police in our communities, or the existence of police at all. Instead, organizers with Activate Chi are openly collaborating with CPD, and encouraging their presence en masse.

“These egregious issues, along with Brave Space Alliance discovering that the Activate Chi's claim that the march was sponsored by our partners at Black Lives Matter Chicago was false, have led us to decide to completely withdraw our support and presence from this space. In fact, we actively condemn this march, and call upon Activate Chi to do better, cede their platform and funding entirely to Black Trans People from the South and West Side who will be most negatively impacted by a fraudulent march held in our names. We further call on Activate Chi to examine why their privilege and access to moneyed elites within the LGBTQ and North Side business communities would cause them to lend further legitimacy to the brutal, racist, and transphobic Chicago Police Department.”

ACTIVATE:CHI responded on Friday with a public statement posted to Facebook. The group refuted some of the claims by Brave Space Alliance, including the involvement of CPD. 

However, within hours, the organization issued a second statement announcing the cancelation of the march altogether and indicated it would direct resources to a second protest march titled “Pride Without Prejudice/Reclaim Pride March” in collaboration with BLM Chicago as well as CAARPR (Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression), OPAC (Organized Communities against Deportations) and various LGBTQ health and women's organizations.

“Pride Without Prejudice” will kick-off at 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, at the Belmont Red Line station before traveling north. For more information visit the Facebook event page