MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twin Cities Pride has announced that they will postpone the 2020 “virtual” edition of the LGBTQ+ Pride Parade, honoring Ashley Rukes, along with the virtual concerts scheduled for that weekend.

Pride organizers cited the death of George Floyd and the ensuing wave of protest and unrest that followed, noting “We do not feel a celebratory Pride Parade is appropriate at this time.”

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Due to the ongoing social restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic this year, the organization had been planning on broadcasting a socially-distanced version of the parade live on Sunday, June 28.

The intention was to present more of a variety show format for this year’s iteration, with the hope that the funds raised would ensure there would be a standard in-person parade after social restrictions are lifted.

“The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police has deeply impacted our community and our organization, and it highlights the systemic racial inequity that still exists in Minneapolis and across the nation. The Pride movement started when the LGBTQ+ community said enough is enough. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and we must take action in the fight against racism in our communities,” Bo Nabozny, interim Pride chair, said. “We will use our platform and our voices to support the social justice groups that plan to march on June 28th in Minneapolis.”

The other planned march Nabozny references — Taking Back Pride: Justice4GeorgeFloyd DefendBlackTransFolks — is being hosted by a number of local organizations working for racial justice and police reform.

The Twin Cities Pride Festival is among the nation’s most well-attended Pride events, drawing hundreds of thousands to the metro area annually.

On Tuesday, Twin Cities Pride posted an announcement on Facebook that began with the statement, “We Have Failed and we must do better! Black lives matter. Black Trans lives matter.”

In the note, the organization noted that chair of Pride’s board of directors, Darcie Baumann, stepped down from her position effective immediately. They also said they were working to evolve their recruiting tactics to focus on inclusivity.

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“We owe an apology to the Black, Brown, and Trans community for our complacency and our lack of bravery to be leaders in breaking down systematic racism and oppression. This is especially valid in the month of June as we remember that the Pride Movement was catapulted by the trans and BIPOC communities,” the note said.

Before the postponement of the 2020 virtual parade, WCCO announced it had partnered with Twin Cities Pride to present a broadcast of the parade.

There has been overwhelming support of the decision. Twin Cities resident Daniel Suelter says he hopes people will use Pride Month to be more introspective.

“I think that’s a fair way to not outshine one another,” Suelter said. “I think it’s taking the effort to educate yourself with what’s going on with today’s climate than having a big party.”

Twin Cities resident James Collins also says the move was completely logical considering the connection of marginalized communities.

“LGBT equity and racial equity go hand in hand, and that’s what needs to happen,” Collins said.

Amir Kinara is part of both the LGBTQ+ and Black communities in Minnesota. He says it’s clear which communities needs to be given focus right now.

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“We are trying to raise ourselves up that is going to be as equality for all, and in order to do that we have to start with those who need it the most, which are Black folks, Black trans folks, people of color, indigenous folks,” Kinara said. “This house is on fire. No one else’s is. Let’s make sure we put out that fire first.”

Marielle Mohs