A coalition of local LGBTQ+ and ally organizations plan to a march through downtown South Orange on Sunday to protest racial injustice, police brutality and demonstrate support from the LGBTQ+ community for the national Black Lives Matter movement.
Led by SOMa Action, a nonprofit organization centered around promoting racial and social justice in South Orange and Maplewood, marchers will step off from the corner of Mt. Vernon Place and Seton Hall University at 2:00 pm and make their way up South Orange Ave. to the South Orange Village Center, where a rally is set to take place.
Partner organizations for the march will include, among dozens of others, Rutgers University Pride, the Rutgers University-Newark Intercultural Resource Center, the African American Office of Gay Concerns and Garden State Equality.
“Last year alone, our community lost more than 25 transgender people to violence—the vast majority of were black women,” Jan Kaminsky, a SOMa Action organizer, said in a press release, referring to the dozens of transgender individuals who lost their lives to violence nationwide in 2019. “And the most recent loss of our brother Tony McDade, shot and killed by police in Tallahassee, Florida, painfully highlights the vulnerability of black trans folks at the hands of both vigilantes and police.”
The planned march comes amidst days of nationwide protests condemning the police killing of George Floyd and other black Americans who have died in encounters with police.
In addition to advocating for racial justice, the march also will seek to protest against violence targeted at the black transgender community and remember victims, bring “black and brown voices to the leadership tables within all LGBTQ+ organizations” and push for the demilitarization of police.
“Far from remembering the origins of our movement as a response to police brutality, many queer organizations have been silent or have gone as far as to partner with police,” said the release, “illustrating a stark lack of awareness of the violent treatment by law enforcement of Black queer people—who are literally dying to be free.”
According to Kaminsky, organizers are expecting “several hundred” participants in the march.
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.