Supporters gathered at Make the Road New York (MRNY) offices at 301 Grove St. for the 8th Annual Bushwick Pride and Solidarity March on Saturday.
MRNY lead organizer Karina Claudio said the march, similar to last year, was held to denounce illegal police practices that negatively effect the LGBQ community.
“We’ve been working really hard this past year to get a bill in the City Council that would make sure that practices like stop-and-frisk are not hurting our communities,” Claudio said of the Community Safety Act.
Claudio said many members of the LGBT community are charged with prostitution if police officers find condoms in a stop-and-frisk.
“They get stopped because they look too masculine and they get arrested,” she said. “This is what we’re fighting for today.”
Hundreds gathered to spread the MRNY message and continue the fight for gender equality.
“It really is just celebrating pride and letting the public know that it exists and that everybody’s rights are respected and that everybody is a human being,” said City Council hopeful and community activist Antonio Reynoso. “We’re not scared, we’re out here and it’s important.”
Tony Bruce started the Michael Sandy Foundation after his roommate was killed answering an online solicitation in 2006. His attackers later confessed to targeting and luring gay men online.
The foundation's goal is to identify and support tolerance education programs and spread the word of gender equality.
“It’s silly that we have to do this, but we will continue to do this until we have the point of real equality,” Bruce said at the rally.
Also joining the march were a number of local political figures, including public advocate candidate Reshma Saujani, Assembly candidate Jason Otaño and CB1 member Thomas Burrows.
“I think there is still more work to do in the immigrant communities, especially in the South Asian communities,” Saujani said. “There’s a lot of our LGBT brothers and sisters in the community who deserve love and respect just like everybody else.”