Thursday, 17 Jun 2021

A Crossroads for N.Y.C. Pride

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It’s Tuesday.

Weather: Partly sunny. High in the mid-70s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until June 19 (Juneteenth).

The change came after years of pressure.

Organizers of New York City’s annual Pride march announced last month that police officers would not be allowed to participate as a group until at least 2025, among other efforts to limit the presence of law enforcement at the celebration.

The shift was a response to concerns of some transgender, Black and Latino people, who said they felt unsafe in front of law enforcement. But among other groups, the move spurred a backlash.

Now, it has led to a wave of questions for organizers about the direction of the march’s future and whose concerns have been prioritized historically.

[Read more about the initial decision and what came next.]

The details

Groups in several cities across the nation have taken similar steps to limit the role of police at Pride events.

Still, the Gay Officers Action League, an organization of L.G.B.T.Q. police included in the ban, criticized the decision as exclusionary and “shameful.” Its president said he felt “betrayed.” And Mayor Bill de Blasio called it a mistake.

Members of the organization that runs the march, Heritage of Pride, voted after an hourslong meeting on May 20 to overrule their board and allow the police to march.

That decision was overruled minutes later when the board rejected the members’ vote.

The context

As the celebration has evolved, some have expressed concern that it is moving too far from its origins, worrying that the event has become too corporate and arguing that the police are out of place at a march rooted in the 1969 anti-police rebellion at the Stonewall Inn.

The Reclaim Pride Coalition, which organizes the Queer Liberation March, was formed a few years ago in disappointment over what the Pride march had become. Transgender people and people of color have long said pushes for progress among mainstream L.G.B.T.Q. organizations have often left them behind.

The reaction

Several Heritage of Pride members called the police ban “out of touch” and misguided, arguing that it was the wrong solution to concerns about policing. “It’s flat-out discriminatory,” Russell Murphy, a member for 20 years, said to my colleague John Leland.

But others, like André Thomas, a Pride co-chair, felt the backlash was a dismissal of the negative experiences that Black people and other marginalized groups had with officers.

From The Times

Key Question in Mayoral Race: Who Will Get Latino New Yorkers’ Votes?

New York’s ‘Excelsior Pass’ Is the Country’s First Vaccine Passport

Lines Never Felt So Good: Crowds Herald New York’s Reopening

Barbecues, Birthdays and Tangos: New York Parks Are Bustling Again

N.Y.C. Roads Are Busy Again, and So Are Traffic Reporters

Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

Rent relief applications are now open for New Yorkers who have struggled to make payments during the pandemic. [The City]

The challenges of reopening a comedy club as the city starts to come back to life. [Gothamist]

These are the bird paramedics in New York who help as skyscraper crashes pick up during migration season. [Curbed]

And finally: 3,000 miles. 84 days. On foot to New York.

Hellah Sidibe ran every day for more than four years. But this time, the route ahead would be particularly daunting.

About three months ago, Mr. Sidibe laced up in Huntington Beach, Calif., and paced his way through the Navajo Nation reservation in Arizona and New Mexico, on the sides of gravel roads in Indiana and up and down hills in Pennsylvania.

By last week, he had traversed about 3,050 miles and finished his cross-country journey in Manhattan, 84 days and 14 states later.

Mr. Sidibe, who lives in Rochelle Park, N.J., is one of about 300 people who have crossed the nation on foot from coast to coast, according to a website that tracks the treks.

Originally from Bamako, Mali, Mr. Sidibe came to the United States as a child, and played soccer through college and later professionally with the Seattle Sounders. Running, as a separate sport off the field, however, “scared” him, he said.

In the spring of 2017, Mr. Sidibe said, he challenged himself to tackle that and run every day for 12 months, a streak he continued far longer. “We’re so much stronger than we think we are,” Mr. Sidibe said. “I was getting too comfortable with just daily running — and I don’t want to get comfortable.”

On March 1, he set off for 700-plus hours of running across the country for charity. He tried to begin most days by 7:30 a.m.; some nights he was still running past 11 p.m.

His partner, Alexa — now his fiancée, after he proposed to her at the finish line — accompanied him by car to help with directions, provide food and make supply stops (Mr. Sidibe said he went through at least 16 pairs of shoes). The trip was often broken up into five-mile segments, and another friend would stop at the pausing points with an RV, where Mr. Sidibe refueled, addressed ankle and shin pain, and slept.

Mr. Sidibe said that he had some negative encounters with the police on the trip, and that a group of residents in one Midwestern state shouted racial slurs at him.

“But you realize there’s so many good people across the United States,” he said. “The good outweighs the bad. And that was very promising for me to see.”

It’s Tuesday — challenge yourself.

Metropolitan Diary: Swept away

Dear Diary:

It was a Saturday morning, and I had ridden the Lackawanna to Hoboken and taken the ferry to Manhattan. I was heading for Cortlandt Street and the electronics stores on Radio Row.

As I left the ferry terminal and started to cross the very wide area in front of it, I noticed a street sweeper busily going back and forth.

The driver saw me, a teenager with a camera hanging around his neck. We were the only two people in the area. He turned the sweeper sideways to show its best side, posing for a photo. I obliged, and we waved good morning to each other.

Then he went back to sweeping, and I went on to Radio Row. It’s long gone now, razed to make way for the World Trade Center.

— Jim Ransom

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