In celebration and honor of Juneteenth, on Friday June 19th 2020, our Senior Creative Producer, Genevieve, volunteered as a Safety Marshal for the Break the Chains With Love march led by Valerie Walker, and supported by Dyke March NYC.
Dyke March NYC has organized an annual march over Pride weekend (celebrating the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots) since 1993. The origin of the march is in reaction to Pride Parade festivities becoming less political and more corporate driven. It happens every year on the Saturday before the Pride march, leading thousands of people in protest. This year, in the time of COVID-19, the Dyke March had planned on hosting a virtual event but quickly pivoted when they saw the potential for their network of LGBTQIA+ community members and allies, to march for our BIPOC family.
Holding years of experience extensively training safety marshals, the leaders of Dyke March have shared their strength in equipping people to safely protest for other organizations. Since this event, they've helped with recruiting and training volunteer marshals to support several BLM centered marches in NYC. They continue to uplift communities for change!
March leader, Valarie Walker's long-time commitment to progressive social change has included work with the Lesbian Avengers, ACT-UP and Black AIDS Mobilization. In speaking about the march, Valarie said: “In moments when I feel powerless, I think about Ruby Ridges who walked tall and changed history. All by herself. And she faced the same enemy. Systemic racism. But what can I do? The answer is simple--love. Love is kinda my superpower! Physics teaches us that the only way to overcome a powerful force is to meet it with a force that is equal or larger. Love is powerful. Together, our love can overcome their hate."
Robyn Ayers, another member of the committee, stressed the importance of community collaboration and the sharing of resources. She emphasized the point that there must be a focus on maintaining the campaign for the long haul. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Ayers said. “There’s so much to be said to be playing to your strengths. One of the strengths is that we can get to the people who do not know how to safely protest or participate, and we can equip them better… Everybody has something to bring to the table.”