Black & Pink statement in solidarity with Chicago Dyke March Collective
Black and Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and free world allies who support one another. As an organization based in the settler colonial United States fighting for the abolition of the prison industrial complex, and the carceral state as a whole, we align our work with Palestinian struggle for self determination, release of political prisoners, land return, and freedom from Israeli state violence. As an LGBTQ organization we are especially outraged at the ways Israel uses “pinkwashing” efforts to appear as a safe haven for LGBTQ people while simultaneously building an apartheid wall, caging Palestinian bodies, bombing Palestinian homes, and stealing Palestinian land.
On Saturday June 24th, 2017, several individuals left the Dyke March Chicago rally, after affirming their support for Israel and Zionism in conversation with DMC organizers. Within hours, the story of Jewish pride flags being banned was ripping headlines and pro-Israel (and extremely Islamophobic) comments were afire on the Dyke March Chicago facebook and twitter pages. One of the individuals who left Dyke March after a conversation with organizers is the Midwest Manager of A Wider Bridge - an organization with strong ties with the Israeli Military (IDF) and an explicit agenda to ‘pinkwash’ Israel’s treatment of Palestinians by promoting the image of Israel as LGBTQ friendly. As has happened in other incidents with A Wider Bridge around the country, the conflation of symbols of Jewish identity with pro-Israel sentiment was purposefully used in this incident, in order to discredit LGBTQ organizations and efforts building solidarity with Palestinian Queers. While for many the Star of David is a religious symbol, and not inherently associated with zionism, it is also important to point out that many acknowledge the co-optation of the Magen David as a widely accepted symbol representing Israel’s settler colonial project. And most importantly, the individuals left the Dyke March after dialogue with both Jewish anti-zionists and Palestinians present. There were many Jewish participants in Dyke March who affirmed feeling included and celebrated, including pen-pals and volunteers with Black & Pink Chicago.
Our Chicago chapter has participated in Dyke March, since we first ‘came out’ as a chapter at the Dyke March in Uptown in 2013. It has been and remains an important space, organized by and for QTPOC individuals, where our formerly incarcerated queer and trans family feel affirmed and celebrated, and we gain support for our ongoing work towards abolition. Black and Pink also has repeatedly affirmed our support for Palestinian Liberation, and our opposition to the ‘pinkwashing’ of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine, including the now ten year siege on Gaza, which is often referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison. During the escalation of attacks on Muslim communities across the US, being driven by the 45 administration (which include anti-Semitic figures like Steve Bannon) , we recognize that effective resistance to Islamophobia and anti-Muslimism must be anti-zionist. We send our love, support and solidarity to Dyke March Chicago organizers - themselves LGBTQ people of color - facing intense backlash and hostility right now for upholding Palestinian liberation.