March 14, 2018 at 8:51 am EDT | by Michael Key
No Justice No Pride demonstrates for the ‘Black Pride 4’
Black Pride 4, gay news, Washington Blade

Activists chant ‘queer lives they matter here, trans lives they matter here’ at a demonstration in front of the U.S. Department of Justice on March 12. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

About 20 activists affiliated with No Justice No Pride demonstrated in front of the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building on Monday. The activists gathered in support of four Columbus, Ohio-based activists who were arrested after disrupting the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and Parade on June 17, 2017.

Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton, and DeAndre Antonio Miles-Hercules, known now as the ‘Black Pride 4,’ blocked the parade route in Columbus and were subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, among other charges, a number of outlets reported.

The March 12 action in front of the U.S. Department of Justice in downtown D.C. was held in support of the ‘Black Pride 4’ — three of whom faced guilty verdicts that day following a five-day jury trial, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The three were sentenced to two years probation; the fourth protester has yet to stand trial.

“Across the country, our people – trans and queer people of color – are being targeted for speaking out against state violence,” said Emmelia Talarico, organizing director of No Justice No Pride. “Activists like Wriply Bennet of the Black Pride 4 and Glo Merriweather of Charlotte Uprising are being forcefully silenced by the state and those who collude with the police. The threat to literally cage them reflects a blatant attempt to erase our resistance and shut down our fight for our freedom.”

“Black people are dying at alarming numbers and we live in a country that wages war against us,” continued Talarico. “Protesters and organizers are criminalized as violent agitators, yet police show up in black and brown communities armed and militarized, under the guise of being peacekeepers.”

Following speeches and chants, activists wrote letters of support to the ‘Black Pride 4.’

Demonstrators in Columbus, Ohio also marched on Monday in support of the ‘Black Pride 4.’

No Justice No Pride made headlines last year when activists blocked the Capital Pride Parade route, causing major delays to the annual event. No arrests were made following the disruption of the Capital Pride Parade.

Activists write messages of support for the ‘Black Pride 4’ of Columbus, Ohio. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Michael Key has worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Blade since 2009 and is currently serving as the photo editor. He has worked on Capitol Hill, in the White House, on the campaign trail and in cities along the East Coast taking iconic photos documenting the extension of marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and other events of interest to the LGBT community. Follow Michael

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