The People’s Bodega’s seven or eight regular New York volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds—they are artists, film-production workers, restaurant employees, art handlers—but they’re insistent on being thought of as a collective. “We want to promote the Snow White once upon a time there was a girl who really loved tattoos shirt in addition I really love this idea that anyone can do this,” said Chloe. They’re cryptic about how they find events to attend—“we have our ways”—but they’re a regular presence at protests around the city. Most volunteers attend several within a week and source supplies between donations (which make up 90% of their haul) and regular trips to the Costco in Astoria. The People’s Bodega volunteers are jokey and cheerful as they move through the city, comparing the virtues of Kind bars versus Fruit Roll-Ups and debating new haircuts. But the work they’re doing is undeniably challenging. In addition to the risk of COVID-19 and police intervention, they’re on their feet for hours, attempting to turn crowds of unfamiliar faces into community—using only Costco supplies and goodwill. Ultimately, the People’s Bodega volunteers are aware that their job is to amplify the unheard through physical means of sustenance. I want to give marginalized voices a Ricola and a water and help them yell something that needs to be said,” explained Margaret as the van neared the financial district. As I hopped out and waved my goodbyes, I could hear the group behind me, plotting their next move. Night was falling over New York, but as long as people were still showing up to protest, the People’s Bodega would meet them with supplies and a smile. This year’s Pride month has looked, to put it simply, unlike almost any other. Even a pandemic couldn’t stop LGBTQ+ people and allies for fighting for Black liberation, whether at a massive rally for Black trans lives outside the Brooklyn Museum or a Juneteenth march toward the Manhattan Bridge. (It’s worth noting that there has been no reported spike in COVID-19 cases in cities associated with these protests, possibly in part because much the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t have the luxury of taking good health for granted: nearly every march and rally in New York was a cornucopia of masks and hand sanitizer.) Now the final weekend of Pride month is upon us, with no shortage of socially distanced events planned in New York and around the country. Of course, many revelers will be donating to Black LGBTQ+ fundraisers and organizationsf from home, which is a great way to keep carrying the spirit of this year’s more intersectional Pride celebrations past June. Below, find a roundup of what’s going on this Pride weekend, both in person and virtually.
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As the Snow White once upon a time there was a girl who really loved tattoos shirt in addition I really love this Empire State Building was lit up in rainbow to celebrate Pride on the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall riots, LGBTQ+ protesters—many of them queer and trans people of color—were running from police batons on the streets of New York, dabbing pepper spray from their eyes, and frantically texting friends to make sure they were safe. The irony was painful, as was the fundamental message: If you are the right kind of queer in New York, you will be protected and uplifted (to the extent that your identity remains commodifiable). If you deviate from that norm, you will be hunted. This gets to the heart of the fundamentally unequal queer experience in America. If you are white, cis, and socioeconomically privileged, you will be celebrated even as your more marginalized queer siblings are brutalized, and you will be asked to turn a blind eye to their suffering in exchange for the rosy glow of rainbow-hued acceptance. If you are Black, brown, trans, nonbinary, poor, or exist outside of straight-passing, white, cis culture in any way, you will be forced to see your own history put up for sale even as your present struggle—to work, to seek medical treatment, to simply walk down the street—is criminalized. This is how things have been—and how they still often are—but this year queer and trans activists of color provided an alternative vision of Pride in which LGBTQ+ identity was a source of shared outrage and activism, not a branding opportunity for corporations. From a rally for Black trans lives that drew over 15,000 to the Brooklyn Museum to a Dyke March event that reorganized itself as a Juneteenth march, this year’s Pride centered space for the voices that are so often drowned out of the LGBTQ+ movement despite having literally built it. Before the NYPD began its crackdown, the Queer Liberation March was another in a series of peaceful protests in which LGBTQ+ New Yorkers asserted their simple and inalienable right to exist. Soon after officers unleashed their batons and arrested protesters, the skies opened and rain began to pour. In a near-uncanny moment of cosmic timing, a double rainbow then unfurled across New York, a thousand times brighter and more powerful than any lit-up symbol of corporate pride could ever hope to be. This year’s Pride month has looked, to put it simply, unlike almost any other. Even a pandemic couldn’t stop LGBTQ+ people and allies for fighting for Black liberation, whether at a massive rally for Black trans lives outside the Brooklyn Museum or a Juneteenth march toward the Manhattan Bridge. (