Organizers reverse ban, allow uniformed police officers to walk in Sacramento Pride Parade
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Organizers of the Sacramento Pride Parade in California reversed their decision not to let uniformed police officers participate in Pride events and announced a new partnership with local authorities.

The agreement, announced Thursday, came after the Sacramento LGBT Community Center announced last week that it would ban uniformed officers from participating in this weekend's events “to honor the pain and marginalization of community members who have been harmed by police violence.”

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After a meeting with the police department late last month, the organization agreed to allow uniformed officers attend, according to the Thursday news release from the police department and the center.

“Everyone at the table listened, heard one another, and spoke from the heart, making it apparent everyone had the same desire to do what is best for the community,” Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said in the release. “It’s a complex landscape but ultimately boils down to a simple shared desire: we all want to be accepted for who we are and to feel safe and welcome in our own communities.

“As part of the partnership, all police officers, many of whom are LGBTQ themselves, will be welcome in uniform at SacPride and those who have been or feel disenfranchised by law enforcement will now have a platform upon which to seek improvements,” the center said in announcing its decision.

 

As part of the partnership with the LGBT Community Center, the police department agreed to have an LGBTQ liaison in its outreach unit and develop a standing “LGBT Community Advisory Committee” to recommend policies geared toward better serving the LGBTQ community.

Police will also craft a new training program that “elevates the voices of marginalized LGBTQ community members and discusses the role of implicit bias,” the release said.

Event organizers said they seek to memorialize experiences like the Stonewall riots, a violent police raid on a gay bar that was foundational in the American LGBTQ rights movement, while working to mend community relations between police and queer communities. 

“We cannot be surprised when those for whom law enforcement has been historically and disproportionately applied are stricken with fear by the sight of a uniform nor can we be surprised when banning that uniform doesn’t bring about the deeper change we seek,” Carlos Marquez, board president for the center, said in the statement. “This partnership is about healing and propelling us forward.”