At the height of the coronavirus crisis in New York City — with luck, that was the height — it appeared as though there would be no show of Pride on the streets here this June.
Then, in the wake of George Floyd’s Memorial Day killing in Minneapolis and with protests erupting worldwide in the name of Black Lives Matter and in opposition to police use of lethal force on people of color, the Reclaim Pride Coalition — which last year held the Queer Liberation March as an alternative to the traditional LGBTQ Pride March with its plethora of corporate floats — announced on June 4 that it would stage the Queer Liberation March for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality.
The event, which traveled from Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to Washington Square Park — with a pass by the Stonewall Inn in the West Village — drew tens of thousands for a march that was largely peaceful, at least until the NYPD’s effort to arrest someone at Washington Square led to their use of pepper spray and batons to subdue a group of marchers angered by the arrest.
Heritage of Pride, also known as NYC Pride, canceled its annual march, opting instead for a virtual program aired on ABC 7. A symbolic procession of balloons and grand marshal-less grand marshal cars, with several elected officials along the route to say a few words, did, however, yield at least one striking image.