A group of activists overtook the 7th Annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony at Philadelphia's City Hall Sunday morning, demanding Mayor Jim Kenney address a recent conflict regarding discrimination within the city's LGBT community.
The ceremony, which annually marks the start of OutFest, a block party celebration for National Coming Out Day, was crashed by activists from Black Lives Matter, the Black & Brown Workers' Collective and others. This is the second time in a week that activists have called for the resignation of NellieFitzpatrick, Mayor Kenney's LGBT community liason, NewsWorks reported.
It all began last month, when avideo surfaced on YouTubepurportedly showing Darryl DePiano, owner of Gayborhood club iCandy, using the n-word in a private conversation. The video spread quickly, sparking fierce response from members of the community and their allies.
On Sunday, protesters demanded Kenney address the alleged racism at the bar and other local establishments.
After the flag-raising, Kenneyissued a statement:
“As I have said previously, there is no denying that racism and discrimination is an issue within the LGBT community. The Gayborhood should be a sanctuary for all in the LGBT community, but sadly not everyone is welcome at some of its institutions, and until real steps are taken to address racist dress code policies or other instances of institutionalized discrimination, I will not go to those institutions.
Discrimination in the Gayborhood and across the city is not something that one person or one office can be expected to solve on its own – it’s on all of us – and I hope the hearing that the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is holding on racism in the Gayborhood will start to move that ball forward. I intend to be there to do my part in ensuring that it does, and I encourage all others that are invested in change to attend as well.
Last week, thePhiladelphia Commission on Human Relationsissued a subpoenato all Gayborhoodbar owners to attend a public hearing on racism and discrimination on Oct. 25, the mayor's office announced.
The Black & Brown Worker's Collectiveposted to its Facebookpages a list of its demands, which includes:
- Fundsallocated to support the development of black and brown spaces inside and outsidetheGayborhood;
- All parties found to practice racial discrimination/anti-black behaviors or policies be fined, reprimanded, and relieved of duties;
- Kenney, Fitzpatrick, JaneShull, executive director of Philadelphia Fight, andNuritShein, CEO of theMazzoniCenter be subpoenaed to the Oct. 25 hearings; and
- Trauma therapists be present at the Oct. 25 hearing. They must be black and brown because "they need to reflect the communities most impacted by systemic racism," and the city must fund access to therapy to community members who experienced trauma fromDePiano'slanguage.
Meanwhile, DePianoissued a public apology on Facebooklast month, saying, "Although, I acknowledge that this type of Language and and action are NEVER acceptable it truly does NOT reflect my true feelings."