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Call for a Ceasefire and Condemn Pinkwashing at Lansing Pride

To Lansing Pride,

We hope you are doing well and finding ways to stay nourished in these times. We are writing to you as a coalition of queer, trans, and feminist organizers, artists, educators, and community members in Lansing to request your attention to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. As you know, over 40,000 Palestinian people have been killed by Israel, nearly half of whom are children. 

As LGBTQIA2S+ community members of Lansing, we are deeply concerned that Lansing Pride has thus far remained silent on the genocide. Queer people overwhelmingly support a ceasefire and recognize that the genocide is being carried out in our name through Israel’s use of pinkwashing—a campaign that “juxtaposes a falsely progressive image of Israel with a racist portrayal of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim societies as backwards, repressive, and intolerant” to divert attention from Israel’s human rights violations of Palestinians (USCPR). An introduction to pinkwashing is provided by the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement here, with more thorough information available here from Decolonize Palestine. This misuse of queer identity politics to manufacture consent for genocide occurs in addition to the financial and material support the U.S. and Lansing specifically are providing to Israel as they commit genocide, which includes tax money, business partnerships, and weapons manufacturing. Across Michigan, members and allies of the LGBTQIA2S+ community have petitioned the Michigan LGBTQ+ Centers Network to openly support a permanent ceasefire in solidarity with queer and trans Palestinians. Here in Lansing, we must assess the steps we can take together to stop the genocide. 

We are writing to demand that Lansing Pride speak out to call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and condemn the weaponization of our lives and existence to justify the genocide

We are also aware that McDonalds of Michigan, UMich Medicine, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will be sponsoring and/or participating in Lansing Pride this year. As companies profiting off the genocide and the desecration of our communities, we demand that Lansing Pride bar them from participating and cut ties with them. We must not let corporations use our community to boost their public image while they are contributing to genocide. 

McDonalds has provided the Israeli military with free meals as they commit genocide against Palestinians, prompting the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) to “endorse the organic, grassroots-led worldwide boycott campaigns targeting McDonald’s to end complicity in apartheid Israel’s crimes.” More information on the boycott against McDonalds can be found here. We cannot support a Pride event that partners with McDonalds in any way. 

Second, the University of Michigan funds and profits from the genocide through its investments and research and has used the cops to brutalize, hospitalize, and arrest students and community members calling for divestment from genocide. We take no pride in seeing the University of Michigan’s attempt to partner with our community as they fund both the bombs that Israel drops on queer and trans Palestinians and the cops that brutalize queer and trans Michiganders standing for justice. 

Third, JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the largest bank in the United States and invests in weapons companies such as Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest military technology and defense contractor. JPM Chase recently cut their shares in Elbit dramatically due to grassroots pressure, but not entirely. A company that attempts to fund and profit from genocide has no place at a celebration of queer life and queer struggle; these are exactly the kind of institutions we must stand up against in order to be free. We refuse their attempts to use Pride to mask their profit-driven violence. 

In honor of Pride’s roots, we cannot stay silent while a genocide is carried out in our name. We kindly request the response of Lansing Pride with a decision as to how you will address these demands by June 20th, 2024

If helpful, ACT UP NY and Toronto Pride both have modeled taking action in accordance with these demands, and their statements can be used as templates. The Salus Center is an example of a Lansing-based LGBTQIA+ organization that has called for a ceasefire. We are happy to meet with you to discuss further, if desired. 

As Marsha P. Johnson said, “no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” This includes queer and trans Palestinians. We look forward to your prompt response. 

With care, 

Lansing for Palestine
Lansing Feminist Affinity Group
Hurriya Coalition
Greater Lansing Democratic Socialists of America
Michigan General Defense Committee

Lansing for Palestine Board

No Pride in Genocide