Taking PRIDE in Bradley Manning

 

With Bradley Manning’s court martial in full swing, Bradley Manning contingents marched in PRIDE parades around the country and world. Supporters organized street theatre performances, parade floats, and in SF an airplane swooped over the event carrying a Free Bradley Manning banner! All this public support for Bradley has sent a clear message: Bradley Manning is a heroic whistleblower, and enough is enough – he must be set free! The military cannot get away with having persecuted a gay soldier who did the right thing. Exposing war crimes is not a crime! Free Bradley Manning! 

The Bradley Manning contingent in the SF Pride parade was the largest non corporate group in attendance! Free Bradley Manning!

The Bradley Manning contingent in the SF Pride parade was the largest non corporate group in attendance! Free Bradley Manning!

In San Francisco, Bradley Manning supporters made up the largest non-corporate sponsored group, consisting of well over a thousand people. Courage to Resist reports:

The contingent featured former military strategist Daniel Ellsberg who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Ellsberg, adorned with a pink boa, rode on a pickup truck declaring Bradley Manning “The People’s Grand Marshal.”

The contingent featured dozens of supporters riding a trolley car, the Brass Liberation Orchestra marching band, and a synchronized dance group doing a routine to Michael Jackson’s ‘They don’t care about us’. High above Market Street, an airplane dragged a banner reading ‘Our LGTBQ Hero – Bradley Manning’.

View more photos from the SF Pride march! 

In New York City, the Bradley Manning contingent included a street theatre performance with a large moving jail cell and an actor playing Bradley Manning inside it. The theatre performance was organized by playwright Claire Lebowitz. Members of Veterans For Peace also joined the march. Elias Holtz, an organizer from the NYC Pride contingent writes:

… it wasn’t my crush that motivated me to spend over two months organizing a big group of queers (and allies) to march for Bradley in the New York Pride Parade.

I was motivated more by the fact that Pride would come while Bradley was on trial and would be a huge opportunity to show that the LGBT community stands with Bradley and his actions. I knew that we could rally tens of thousands behind his case in New York City alone. LGBT people know how brave one has to be to speak the truth. We back up people who speak out.

The effort became national, and we coordinated with #BradleyPride contingents in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and San Francisco.

 

In Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network initiated a “Free Bradley Manning” contingent in this year’s Pride Parade in Chicago — as an opportunity to spread the anti-war message and to defend civil liberties.

Marching for Bradley in the Chicaco Pride Parade

Marching for Bradley in the Chicaco Pride Parade

In Seattle, the Bradley Manning contingent was placed right near the head of the parade, third from the start. 

In London, Queer+ Friends of Bradley Manning organized a contingent in support of the heroic whistleblower. Supporters marched behind a hand painted banner, while handing out more than 4000 flyers and thousands of stickers.

And at the Twin Cities Pride parade a photo booth was setup for people to take “I Am Bradley Manning” photos. 

 

More great links:

Video of London Pride march.
Photos from Queer+ Friends of Bradley Manning
More photos from the NYC Bradley Manning contingent

10 thoughts on “Taking PRIDE in Bradley Manning

  1. ‘Our LGTBQ Hero – Bradley Manning’ sounds not encouraging for me and degrade the full meaning of what Bradley did. He did what he did not because he is gay and referring to that makes me sick.

  2. The unfaltering and assiduous commitment of the LBGTQ community in the San Francisco Pride Parade (June 30, 2013) won the day. Although the first unit in the parade stepped out onto Market Street at 10:00AM, the Bradley Manning unit (the largest of the parade) did not reach Market until 2:30PM. The 4 1/2 hour delay was because the so-called “Pride Board” placed us as contingent number 170 out of 230 in an attempt to marginalize Bradley Manning as a person. The community, both LGBTQ and straight, held in there so strongly, that nothing could marginalize Bradley Manning. Our contingent, numbering 2,000 marchers, (including the magnanimous Daniel Ellsberg as stand-in whistleblower for Manning), was bursting with exuberance and evangelic vigor, which was reflected by the viewing public which responded with like vigor.It was reassuring to see so many of the public holding Manning posters and wearing Manning stickers.

    Doubtless the two SCOTUS decisions, rejection of Prop 8 and DOMA, injected jubilation into the Pride event, but the vigor of the Manning support carried the day.

    Next comes San Diego Pride, Saturday, July 13. Californians are helping bring the message to the nation: Bradley Manning is a patriotic hero who did what no other soldier or Marine has done in these two criminal and destructive wars: THE TRUTH. This is what so terrifies the war machine.

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