BQIC and the Black Pride 4

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When black, trans activist Dkeama Alexis heard about the arrest of four black queer protesters at the Stonewall Columbus Pride Parade last year, they knew they had to jump into action. We sat down with Dkeama and discussed how they felt.

“We gotta do something because this is our community. And folks that have been arrested, they are all black folks, all queer folks, we gotta like really advocate for our folks right now. Especially because we know all of them. (~21:30) They had a protest at the Stonewall Pride Parade and were beset by our police force which has a history of violence, and Stonewall Columbus had absolutely nothing to offer. They had no response until a couple days later.” said Dkeama.”

Dkeama’s move was co-founding the organization Black Queer Intersectional Columbus also known as BQIC. The group has blossomed from a group of activist friends hanging out to an organization of more than 50 people — investing all their energy into fighting for and supporting the black queer activists arrested last year — a group that’s come to be known as the Black Pride Four. BQIC says the group’s legal battle is an example of how the larger LGBT community is failing to support all of its members.

“The stonewall columbus board president is the person who is testifying against the black pride four during trial. Which, that like really speaks too how divorced corporate pride is, how divorced white gay america has become from the history of pride. To hear that an LGBT organization is directly colluding with the state repress black queer and trans individuals, their community counterparts, it just boggles the mind.”

BQIC is calling attention to the problems they see with mainstream Pride. It’s part of their efforts to make the community more inclusive — which they say taps into the real spirit of pride.

“We are planning a community pride and it will be part celebration and part demonstration. We want to invite people from these different backgrounds. Queer trans people of color, undocumented, refugee, disabled. We want to center these different identities, we want to get back to the radical aspects of pride. Literally get back to the roots.”

That value for activism is something BQIC members, like Zedeeka Fulay, hold near and dear as a tenant of pride.

“Protest should be the essential essence of pride. If your pride is getting protested that says a lot about where pride is and why it needs to change.”

Pride and activism have an interconnected history. For Zedeeka and people like her, that history will always be a part of what Pride is – as an event and also a feeling. 2:40

“I believe that there is a space for activism in pride because pride is activism. It is activism in which you are bringing light to the problems, the good, the bad, the happy bits of a community. It is supposed to be a form of activism. It’s a celebration. Celebration is activism. Celebration against oppressive states is activism. Pride is suppose to be an activist space, with the history to now.”

This upcoming pride season, look for BQIC. They’ll be out in Columbus celebrating amd being proud through activism.