Protesters, many dressed as zombies, on Saturday marched around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner was about to begin. Following the march, a number of activists blocked the front entrances to the convention center.
Other doors on the side of the convention center were opened to accommodate guests.
A statement released by the activist group No Justice No Pride stated the protesters dressed as zombies to “reflect the horror done by HRC partnering with a monster like Wells Fargo.”
Wells Fargo served as the presenting sponsor of the 21st annual HRC National Dinner.
“In June, at the Pride Parade, we targeted Capital Pride’s willingness to sell our communities out to harmful corporations,” said Emmelia Talarico, chair of No Justice No Pride’s steering committee. “Today, we’re targeting HRC’s willingness to do the same.”
Talarico was referring to the activist group’s disruption of the Capital Pride Parade in a non-violent direct action last June.
“For decades, the LGBT movement has cast aside the most marginalized in pursuit of ‘equality’ for the most privileged members of our communities,” continued Talarico. “Our hope is that No Justice No Pride’s actions begin to wake the LGBT establishment up to the fact that there is a new generation of trans and queer folks with bigger, broader and more radical dreams of liberation. Dreams inspired by the lives of our ancestors — like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and Audre Lorde — which are fundamentally incompatible with entities like Wells Fargo.”
“We have had enough of the juggernaut non-profits profiting off the lives of black bodies, brown bodies, indigenous bodies, undocumented bodies: Fuck HRC,” said Lourdes Ashley Hunter, executive director of the Trans Women of Color Collective as she was bound to the security fence around the convention center. “Now more than ever it is important for our voices to be heard. We cannot continue to let these organizations represent us. They don’t represent us, number one, and we know that.”
Hunter continued, “They represent their capitalist interests. They represent their white, cis gay pajama parties, they represent everything that liberation is not standing for. And so we’re here today to not only say ‘fuck HRC,’ ‘fuck Wells Fargo,’ well fuck everybody who paid $400 to come up in here and continue this shit.”
“It is really important now more than ever that we identify who is on our side and who is not,” said Aaryn Lang of the activist group GetEqual. “HRC hasn’t gotten clear, so we’re here to ease them along the process. Until they decide to make a choice that is honorary of the LGBT movement that actually wants to see the liberation for black and brown bodies, we will continue to fuck HRC.”
No arrests were made and the group dispersed after the HRC event started.