In recent weeks, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to plague the US, the focus on law enforcement abuse of Black Americans re-intensified with the August 23 police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the presidential campaign moved into high gear with both parties’ conventions unfolding, LGBTQ activists and their allies were on the streets in New York for a wide array of actions.
On August 21, hundreds marched from the Barclays Center to the Brooklyn Bridge and into Lower Manhattan in a March for the Dead, Fight for the Living to bring attention to the continued COVID-19 crisis gripping the nation. The march was held in coordination with similar events in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, and elsewhere, and was endorsed by Rise and Resist, the New York Immigration Coalition, ACT UP, Revolting Lesbians, and the Reclaim Pride Coalition. Reclaim Pride’s Jay W. Walker and Ken Kidd were among the organizers, as was Martin Quinn, who lost his father to COVID-19 just days before.
“My dad tested positive for the virus for two full months. He fought hard but suffered alone,” Quinn said. “He was livid and just saddened at the incompetence of the Trump administration.”
On August 27, the night Donald Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president on the White House lawn, Rise and Resist organized activists on gun violence prevention, nuclear disarmament, defense of the postal service, immigration rights, COVID-19 care, and disability access and rights in a No More Years event where different groups came from a variety of starting points to rally at to the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
The following evening, a coalition of activists and groups led by Brooklyn organizer Selu gathered in three locations in Brooklyn and Queens and marched to Madison Square Park in Manhattan in solidarity with the Get Your Knee Off Our Necks Commitment March on Washington, organized by the Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network and held the same day to honor the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. The event in New York drew organizations including Riders4Rights, Revolting Lesbians, Across Frontlines, the NYC Dyke March, the Reclaim Pride Coalition, the Queens Liberation Project, and Musicians United — NYC.
On Sunday, August 30, Gays Against Guns gathered in Manhattan’s Union Square for a Break the Silence gun violence prevention rally.