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Seattle Pride to make decision on police presence ‘from a community perspective’

Seattle Pride Parade 2018. (KIRO Radio/Matt Pitman)

Last week, Capitol Hill Pride announced that it would be banning police participation at the group’s march and rally scheduled for this June. That sparked questions and confusion surrounding Seattle Pride, a separate entity which will be taking place virtually this summer, and has yet to come to a decision on its own stance on police presence at its future events.

Canceled and alternate local events in spring, summer 2021

Seattle Pride — which typically sees attendance up around 400,000 people annually — fielded a flurry of calls last week from people who thought it had banned police this year. Speaking to KIRO Nights host Jack Stine, Seattle Pride Executive Director Krystal Marx provided insight into the group’s own position.

“We wanted to make sure that the public knew that our organizations are not one and the same, and that our events are not connected in any way — we really just wanted to make sure we delineate that really well,” Marx noted. “Our online program is called ‘Resilience,’ and it’s featuring performances, speakers, and topics, and is not exactly a place where police would have a presence.”

For Seattle Pride’s plans its all of its future planned the events, the organization is weighing community feedback against requirements from the city for hosting large events.

“During the coming year, we’ll be taking the time necessary for a thoughtful process in which we’ll be asking to hear from folks in our community so that our plans are reflective of them,” Marx said. “We can balance that with the mandatory requirements of the city, which requires a police presence for events of this scale. It requires a permit, and we want to make sure that we are able to balance both the concerns and the permit requirements.”

Capitol Hill Pride bans police officers for 2021 march and rally this June

In service of that goal, the organization is asking members of the community to provide feedback through the Seattle Pride website. The hope is to gather a range of responses to gauge how attendees feel either way on the inclusion of police.

In the meantime, Seattle Pride is open to a range of possibilities depending on what the community says it wants, from allowing police a place at the table, to asking city council to rework its permitting requirements to reduce police presence.

“It’s really important to us also to make sure that we keep people safe,” Marx said. “We’re doing it from a community perspective and not making decisions unilaterally.”

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