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PrideFest organizers ask law enforcement to sit out the virtual parade

Denver PrideFest organizers said they speak up for justice and can't ignore police violence against Black Americans and felt they must take a stand.

DENVER — Citing the ongoing racial justice movement, the organizers of Denver’s PrideFest said they will not allow police participation in 2021’s virtual pride parade or allow law enforcement to participate as exhibitors.

The Center on Colfax provided 9NEWS with a statement about the decision on Tuesday afternoon.

“The entire history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement is rooted in a history of opposing police harassment and violence aimed at our community,” it reads. “There are numerous examples of police violence going beyond the famous Stonewall Riots of 1969. For all these decades, The Center has worked to address these issues and improve the relationship between the LGBTQ community and police, and we have made great strides.

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“However we cannot in good conscience, as an organization that speaks up for justice, look the other way when it comes to police violence aimed at the Black community—a history of violence that goes back even further in American history. While we value our relationships with law enforcement and want to continue to build a safer community for all Coloradans, we feel we must take a stand.”

While last year’s Denver Pride was entirely virtual, this year’s event will be a combination of online and in-person at multiple venues throughout the city. It is happening from June 26-27.

> The video above is from a 2020 9NEWS story on virtual PrideFest. 

“We hope to facilitate future conversations about how we can reform policing in our community that will involve all members of our community and support new and just ways of keeping our communities safe,” the center’s statement goes on to say.

In past years, numerous law enforcement agencies have participated in PrideFest, including the Aurora Police Department. 

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