An offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement, #BlackLivesMatter NYC, demanded that NYPD vacate Sunday's Pride Marches, claiming that law enforcement presented a threat to black people.
According to their Facebook page, "#BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes."
"Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum," the group's description explains.
In an open letter posted on Sunday, however, #BlackLivesMatter NYC organizers Kleaver Cruz and Kei Williams called for a ban against NYC police officers.
Williams, in the letter, identifies as a "Black queer transmasculine of center individual (they/them/their or Sun)," while Cruz identifies as an "Afro-Dominican queer individual (he/him/his)."
The letter began:
"We ... write this public statement to PRIDE NYC organizers, the Gay Officers Action League-NY (GOAL-NY) and the NYPD in declaring the following: the removal of uniformed police and PRIDE-detailed vehicles from the NYC Pride parade. As a human rights organization, GOAL-NY should be addressing the issues of local public safety issues within the NYPD Black and Brown communities across all precincts in NYC especially among those who identify as LGBTIQ, starting with supporting the Right to Know Act."
Cruz and Williams' letter continued, and noted that the movement "cannot forget the dangers that one of the biggest military forces poses to Black communities," referencing the police. "We must call to awareness the hyper-militarization of local police," it added.
"We call for #SafetyBeyondPolicing," the letter added, and claimed that transgender black citizens have been harassed by NYPD officers.
Asking the community for "safe spaces," the letter concluded:
"In general we ask that those who believe #BlackLivesMatter, stand in solidarity with us in our demands. If you stand with #BlackLivesMatter, then we must not let borders stop us from seeing the damage of anti-blackness to our communities. If you stand with #BlackLivesMatter, be present to all Black lives — transgender, queer, non-binary, HIV, gay, lesbian, or cis-gender including those living with HIV/AIDS. We wish for all persons to not only be represented, but safe and empowered in their celebration of existence at any Pride.
We can no longer support spaces where a force that can kill us, with impunity, is allowed to patrol a day of celebration. We are here for Pride, but not like this."