When any American loses their rights, we all do.
We are LGBTQ+. We are people of color. We are people of different faiths. We are people of all genders and no gender. We are immigrants. We are dreamers. We people with disabilities. We are parents. We are allies. And we are beautiful intersections of these. But most of all, we are American. Yet our rights are in jeopardy. Forces are gathering in government that intend to take away our hard-won basic human rights.
On Jan. 26, I discovered that Washington, D.C., was going to host an LGBTQ+ march. I quickly checked my schedule to see if I’d be available only to discover that LA Pride was on the same day. Impulsively, I posted on my Facebook page that the LA Pride Parade should become a march in 2017. Parades with floats and bands and dancers are to celebrate progress but we are at risk of losing many of our hard earned rights. I did not expect my post to go viral with over 30,000 messages of support!
I felt like the LA Pride movement has been adrift. Inclusivity has been questioned, and splintering had begun to strain our proud institution. Black Pride, Bi Pride, Venice Pride, DTLA Pride and others give critical voice to a diverse perspective and also bring to focus a failure to evolve and to be inclusive. Our goal at #ResistMarch is to bring everyone together so we can share this experience. It’s free. It’s colorful and color blind. It not only celebrates unique groups but attempts to give home to the intersectionality of us all. We are no longer just white cis gender gay dudes. We are lesbian veteran people of color, we are bisexual immigrants with disabilities, we are trans Muslim mothers. We simply are what we are and we must be given a voice.
After the post went viral I knew we were on to something. We immediately formed an organizing committee. Awe inspiring individuals jumped on board to lend their support and more are joining every week. People of color, trans, bi, gay, straight, millennial, dreamers, immigrant, professional, famous and academics. I also set out to speak with as many stakeholders as I could to get early input and buy in. I especially want to reach out to those that have been detractors of pride in the past. It isn’t easy. People are opinionated! In fact, I am sure people will read this and say to themselves “Hey! He has not reached out to me yet.” Please know we want to reach out to you. Contact me and I will happily take you to coffee, ask for your input and guidance and know that we will be better for it! Imagine if for one brief day we could set aside our differences and take to the streets together, reconciled, dignified, and unified! Could it be the beginning of a beautiful bridge to the future?
During all of this, Christopher Street West asked me to join their board. I was conflicted about joining forces with them at first. I felt we could get a lot more done as a grassroots outsider. However, after getting to know Chris Classen, Craig Bowers and the rest of the board I found them to be passionate people that care about the community. I am now a proud board member of CSW and we hope that #ResistMarch will inspire you to find a home at LA Pride.
Our humble request to anyone reading this is to reclaim your pride by joining us on June 11th as we march from Hollywood, where LA Pride was born in 1970 to West Hollywood, where LA Pride grew up. Instead of a Pride Parade meant to celebrate our past progress, we must all march to ensure our futures. Imagine fifty thousand, or one hundred fifty thousand marching in the streets as a living breathing human monument that shouts to all that will hear, “We will not relinquish our basic equal human rights!” We march in unity with those who believe that America’s strength is its diversity. Not just LGBTQ+ people but every American and every dreamer will be wrapped in the Rainbow Flag and our unique, diverse, intersectional voices will come together in one harmonized voice.
We #RESIST forces that would divide us.
We #RESIST those who would take our liberty.
We #RESIST homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and racism.
Together we #RESIST
Brian Pendleton founder of #ResistMarch, is a Los Angeles-based philanthropist, activist and entrepreneur. As founder of CauseForce, Pendleton used his personal experience, entrepreneurial vision and motivating style to lead a workforce of over 150 employees deploying programs that raised over $800 million for life-saving research and care for premier institutes around the world. In 2013, he sold his company and now volunteers his time mentoring, supporting and advising individuals and organizations. He currently is on the Los Angeles City Police and Fire Pension Board and has served on the board of the Human Rights Campaign and as chair of the board of the Trevor Project.