UPDATE: CSW Now Says It Is ‘Re-Evaluating’ Plans For a Pride Protest on June 14

Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, largely empty because of the COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE Friday, 7:22 pm: On its LA Pride Instagram page CSW now says that its board of directors is “continuing to meet today and in the days ahead to collaborate with Black leaders and organizations … The previously announced solidarity march scheduled for June 14 is currently being reevaluated through these discussions with more updates to be shared shortly.”

“We would like to apologize for missteps in our rush to create the June 14th solidarity march meant to rally against the systemic social injustice the Black community faces every day. In that truly well-intentioned effort, we realized that we did not first collaborate with enough key leaders and activists in the Black community that have been fighting on the frontlines. For that we offer our sincerest apologies.

“Furthermore, as we quickly mobilized this protest, we proceeded to approach the permitting as we would normally do with organizing the annual LA Pride Parade and directed Jeff Consoletti and JJLA to file the First Amendment permit on our behalf. In that haste, we overlooked the direct police involvement that permitting involves. We understand that clearly goes against the demands for systemic police reform. This police reform is central to the mission of ending police brutality for which so many of you are out in the streets fighting today and every day.

“In this, we recognize the organization’s relationship with the marginalized groups within our own community has been problematic.”

CSW has withdrawn its request for a permit to stage a Pride protest march in West Hollywood on June 14 after Jeff Consoletti, whose JJLA has been instrumental in producing the annual LA Pride parade and festival for many years, said he is stepping away from plans for the march.

“I am stepping away from this event as CSW/LA Pride did not properly inform me or the community of their intentions,” Consoletti said in a mass email message whose recipients included West Hollywood City Council members, City Manager Paul Arevalo and Capt. Edward Ramirez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

Christopher Street West, the non-profit organization that puts on the Pride celebrations in June of every year, had cancelled this year’s parade and festival citing the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Wednesday it announced that it would stage a protest march “in solidarity with the Black community” that would begin in Hollywood and continue on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

The protest march was endorsed by Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, whose 4th District includes Hollywood and whose deputy chief of staff is Estevan Montemayor, the president of CSW’s board. But it has been criticized by West Hollywood city officials who say that CSW did not reach out to them before announcing the march. They have noted that the city has banned all major events, including Pride and the Halloween Carnaval, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. CSW’s plan for the march also has drawn criticism from black community leaders who say that CSW did not reach out to get them involved.

In posts on her Twitter account, Jasmyne Cannick, a black communications and public affairs strategist, said “if #LAPride wants to show solidarity w/Black folk – and Black folks want that – they can come to where Black folks live. Don’t invite Black folks into anti Black spaces. Y’all had a well known and loved serial killer of Black men in #WeHo for years.” Cannick was referring to Ed Buck, a white gay man who currently is in federal prison awaiting trial on charges related to the deaths from methamphetamine overdoses of two black men in his apartment on North Laurel Avenue. Buck was a donor to the campaigns of several West Hollywood City Council members and was instrumental in getting Councilmember John d’Amico elected to office for the first time in 2011.

“I was a board member for LA Black Pride and now I help organize #SouthLA pride and I can tell you — there’s never been any type of relationship with either when it comes to #LAPride. The stories Black people in Los Angeles can tell about their LA Pride experiences extend decades.”

Gerald Garth, a member of the CSW board of directors and co-chair of its Solidarity March Committee, and Brandon Anthony, a member of Solidarity March Committee, had responded to critics yesterday saying CSW was hearing “the many voices coming from within the Black community and our support for the community is unwavering.” Both Garth and Anthony are black gay men.

As planned, the march would have begun at Hollywood Boulevard at Vine and then entered West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard, where it would have ended at the intersection with San Vicente Boulevard.

City Councilmember John Duran earlier had called CSW’s plan “bold but reckless on their part,” noting that the organization hadn’t reached out to the City of West Hollywood before announcing the event. Councilmember Lauren Meister said “Our top priority should be the health and welfare of our residents, especially the most vulnerable among us, and the safe opening of our businesses. That’s where our resources should be going. The city has been very clear about its concerns regarding COVID-19 and the need to, at minimum, follow county guidelines. Given the fact that we had a higher per capita rate of infections, I believe our concerns were warranted. That was why we cancelled all events through December 31, 2020.” City Councilmember John Heilman, noting that “a number of people raised concerns about CSW’s proposed march, said “I appreciate CSW for listening to those concerns.”

Mayor Lindsey Horvath told WEHOville that she supported the decision by Madonna Cacciatori, CSW’s executive director, to withdraw its request to the city for a permit.

In response to a question from WEHOville, City Councilmember John D’Amico said it still wasn’t clear what CSW’s plans are. “I would hope that over the weekend and into next week they would make clear their intentions and plans,” he said in a text to WEHOville.

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hifi5000
hifi5000
3 months ago

Jasmyne Cannick, the black communications and public affairs strategist really let CSW and the city of West Hollywood have it.After reading about how the city handled the Ed Buck matter and allowed him to continue to operate his den of shame,I would be suspicious of the white community too. Overlooking black organizers to do this march was not a smart move.

James Francis
James Francis
3 months ago

CSW you should take full blame and responsibly for your haste decisions! Furthermore, was this just a ploy for the few CSW executives rub shoulders with leaders and activists and have photo ops to be on front page of newspapers or was this an actual attempt to take credit and be the official spokespeople for the community-at-large to the Media? Did you actually think about getting resident input, community engagement, directives and safety measures in place to prevent possible assaults and fights, break-ins, thefts, and looting or vandalism of any kind when you bring thousands of people together? It already… Read more »

Bill G Skywatcher
Bill G Skywatcher
3 months ago

Stupid, and unfortunate. Pandemic? What pandemic, let’s have a march anyway! And unfortunate both because it was heart-warming to see the LGBTIQ community standing in solidarity with the black community. It’s also unfortunate in that the gay community has struggled for decades with police brutality and harassment and made progress with police in many areas of concern that might be of use and applicable to the black community as well.   Tempers are hot right now, and that often puts well-reasoned thinking on the sidelines, but well-thought out strategic and tactical thinking during times of crisis often determines the success… Read more »

Christopher
Christopher
3 months ago

I believe the real issue is Christopher Street West announced the long partnership with LAPD for the Hollywood portion which then ruffled some peoples feathers. Lets call it what it is in that Black Lives Matter has a problem with our community partnering with police. In fact, they have blocked several different Pride Parades in North America over the last several years because the gay community allows police to march in our parades. I am proud of Christopher Street West for engaging with and recoginzing the amazing improved relationship between the LGBTQIA community and law enforcement. We have worked hard… Read more »

Alicia
Alicia
3 months ago
Reply to  Christopher

I think you’re missing the point as to why BLM is marching to begin with. Why would they march in solidarity with the very people that have brutalized them for centuries? The current system the police operate on was built to keep them marginalized in the first place. I think this is a time in which YOU listen and take note. Not the other way around.

Barb Whitey
Barb Whitey
3 months ago
Reply to  Alicia

Absolutely Alicia!

Christopher
Christopher
3 months ago
Reply to  Alicia

I believe you are missing the point. I am gay. I am part of the LGBTQIA community where all of the colors of benetton are welcome and included. We are all inclusive, all allowing, all existing. We look out for each other. We represent tolerance and understanding. My allegiance is to my community, a multi-cultural melting pot. It should be my first priority to support and protect LGBTQIA of all races and ethnicities and that responsibilty to my entire community should never be hijacked by anyone!!! Happy Pride Everyone. Live your truth and be special in your existence because you… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Christopher
Christopher
Christopher
3 months ago
Reply to  Alicia

One more thing, you ask why you should march with the very people who have brutalized your community? When you march with people like police or politicians, it removes the barriers of power and position and takes things down to human level. The only way to engage and create tolerance is to bring back the humanity to the discussion and march alongside people you never thought would be your ally. You are telling me I should listen? My community has already accomplished that which you seek. We went from coming out of bars and having police call us ridiculous names… Read more »

Flower
Flower
3 months ago

I agree with the march in South Central, but the BIPOC Same-Gender-Loving (SGL) / LGBTQ community does not have to host a march. Maybe this is a time for CSW to do outreach mend wounds, build bridges, and apologize to BIPOC Same-Gender-Loving (SGL) / LGBTQ people being ill-received at CSW LA Pride for decades. Same-gender loving, sometimes written SGL, is a term coined by Cleo Manago, an advocate for the black American queer community. Manago developed the term in the early 1990s because he felt other vocabularies for non-heterosexual relationships (different-gender loving, if you will) were inadequate for the Black… Read more »

Proud
Proud
3 months ago

Exactly in what year will CSW stop screwing things up in their pathetic but impressively consistent incompetence?

Mark Miller
Mark Miller
3 months ago

I hope they can stop waffling and get it together. This indecision is not good, and it seems they have completely forgotten we are still in the midst of a pandemic. New cases in WeHo are stable, thank goodness. We need to keep it that way. Our health and economy depend on it. For the record I’m in full support of demonstrations in support of ending institutionalized racism. Just not this one.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
3 months ago

Perhaps the various groups trying to merge an ill-conceived Pride event w/ genuine outreach to black LGBT might consider holding a march in South Central. White LGBT can enjoy a new cultural experience and black LGBT can be gracious hosts. Something for everyone.

Flower
Flower
3 months ago
Reply to  Rudi Logan

I agree with the march in South Central, but the BIPOC LGBTQ does not have to be gracious hosts. Maybe this is a time for CSW to do outreach mend wounds, build bridges, and apologize.

WehoFan
WehoFan
3 months ago

The City should stand up to CSW and tell them No.

Nicholas
Nicholas
3 months ago

I don’t think having a normal pride is right… but think having a March with bars having floats but not open .We have seem to have forgotten what pride really means. It not a unless endless frat party there is true meaning behind it and I feel like in the recent years The main focus has been drinking and drugs. We have seem to forgotten what it really means. gay pride our freedoms are so delicate real matching seems Appropriate

Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris
3 months ago

Let’s get real. This is a complete embarrassment and failure in leadership. What kind of Board instructs their paid organizer to get permits without telling him its true intentions? This isn’t about Black Lives Matter. This is a campaign stunt arranged by CSW President Estevan Montemayor who just so happens to be LA City Councilman David Ryu’s deputy chief of staff, and Ryu happens to be in a tough campaign for re-election this fall. See anything here? Since becoming president, Estevan has completely corporatized CSW and LA Pride. It’s not about real activism. It’s all about money. And this stupid… Read more »

Flower
Flower
3 months ago

Thank you for speaking up! This is the reason I have not attended LA Pride in years while living in West Hollywood as a BIPOC person is the corporatized CSW and LA Pride. Also, the police in pride is another reason many BIPOC do not attend LA Pride. Yes, this whole stunt is stupid and shameful. I saw thought it as a campaign stunt from the start and a slap in the face to the Black community.

JPo
JPo
3 months ago

Once again West Hollywood elites try to move without listening or reaching out to black voices…