“Pride Was a Riot” and Eugene showed up
“Black Trans women led the fight, in their honor Queers unite”
[The crowd of about 60-70 people get set up prior to marching.]
[James Croxton // Double Sided Media]
On July 4, after being delayed one week due to the state’s record-breaking heatwave, the Queers and their allies gathered for the “Pride Was a Riot” march which began at Kesey Square and ended with a celebration at the Park Blocks.
During the march, the group of about 60-70 people chanted “Queers unite, for the working class we fight”: and“Stonewall was a violent riot, cops will never keep Queers quiet.”
Various building surfaces were spray-painted with phrases such as “ACAB” “Be Trans, Throw Hands,” Queers Unite,” “Death to Imperialism,” and “LGBTQIACAB” in various colors — and with the classic “Fuck 12.” And in addition to the spray-painted slogans, marchers added other chants such as “we are dykes, we are fairies, we are revolutionary,” “death to the fascist USA, organize and be gay,” “death to rainbow corporation, Queers want liberation,” “bottoms, tops, they all hate cops,” and “Black trans women led the fight, in their honor Queers unite.”
Eugene’s streets echoed in a chorus of Queer liberation, harkening the revolution that trailblazing Queer icons like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson helped spark at Stonewall.
Despite the overall peacefulness and organized fashion of the march, at least one Eugene Police Department cruiser followed the crowd–though they never interacted with the marchers. They never turned on their lights, and those inside remained in their vehicle.
The planters and sign in front of the Lane County Jail were, again, targeted with spray-paint and community outrage. The Lane County Public Service Building was, too. In front of the jail, the crowd chanted “brick by brick, wall by wall, free those humans, free them all.” “We love you” was chanted, too, as inmates banged on their windows in acknowledgement.
One attendee spoke of the relationship between white supremacy, capitalism, and the prison industrial complex, sharing testimony of their comrades’ interactions with policing and imprisonment alongside historical statistics and facts in an attempt to educate thecrowd on the institutional violence forced upon Queer bodies.
Finishing the riveting speech—and recommencing the march—chants demanding “prison abolition” sent marchers off to cover more ground.
As the group chanted “Death to Nike” while passing the new flagship Nike store in the 5th Street Public Market a security guard attempted to apprehend someone as they spray-painted a window. The vandal got away.
In the end, Pride goers took the streets and claimed them as their own, declaring both liberation and abolition a Queer fight. By the time they had reached the Park Blocks, a community was solidified. Rainbows and antifascism were now hand-in-hand.
There were several tables at the celebration including a donation spot for the Stop Line 3 bail fund and Black Thistle Street Aid.
One local activist—whose speeches and revolutionary force spearheaded a year’s worth of direct action and community unity—spoke to the crowd with fervor and misty-eyed gusto. Words of Queer unity and liberation rang out loud and clear was attendees were educated on how colonialism and its byproducts—capitalism and white supremacy—murdered and destroyed indigenious Queer life.
[A local activist gives a heartfelt and impassioned speech about colonialism and its byproducts of white supremacy and capitalism.]
[Photo: Robert Scherle]
They went on to denouce America’s claim as a nation, as it’s on stolen land, built off of the backs of enslaved people and the genocide of its indigenious peoples.
Further calls for white allies to redistribute their wealth, not tomorrow, not next week, but today were also made. The speech ended with declarations of the sacredness of Queer bodies and the need for liberation from imperalistic, colonial, and captitalist opression.
In ending the speech, the speaker called upon the crowd to have a minute of rage. The corwd obliged, andscreams of righteous, Queer rage rang through the city streets, and shouts of “Fuck This” burrowed itself in the red brick.