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Seattle Pride organizers apologize for complaining about charging white people reparations fees

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Two Seattle Pride Month organizers have issued an apology to locals following a letter they wrote to city officials complaining that white individuals will be charged a “reparations fee” at a separate event, labeling it “reverse discrimination.”

White attendees who go to the Taking B(l)ack Pride event are being charged $10 to $50 dollars for admittance, based on a subjective sliding scale. It has caused an uproar in the community. Following the organizers’ complaint to the city over the fees, a wave of cancellations hit Capitol Hill Pride.

Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, who are the directors of Capitol Hill Pride, started getting massive blowback after the Seattle Human Rights Commission posted their letter on Twitter.

“It has come to our attention that an event called ‘Take B(l)ack Pride’ at the Jimi Hendrix public park June 26th is charging Whites only admission as reparations,” the letter stated along with a request for the city to review the admissions policy. “We consider this reverse discrimination in its worse form and we feel we are being attacked for not supporting due to disparaging and hostile e-mails.”

“We will never charge admission over the color of a person’s skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values,” the organizers vowed.

The Taking B(l)ack Pride event previously announced on Facebook that “EVERYONE is free to attend HOWEVER this is a BLACK & BROWN QUEER TRANS CENTERED PRIORITIZED, VALUED, EVENT. White allies and accomplices are welcome to attend but will be charged a $10 to $50 reparations fee that will be used to keep this event free of cost for BLACK & BROWN Trans & Queer COMMUNITY,” the notice claims.

The Seattle Human Rights Commission replied to the letter stating: “The unique nature of your situation does not in fact violate any of your human rights as stated in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, which is the charter by which our Commission operates.”

They went on to add: “Black trans and queer peoples are among the most marginalized and persecuted peoples within the LGBTQIA2S+ community. They often face shame not only from the cis-heteronormative community, but within the queer community at large as well. In making the event free for the Black Queer community, the organizers of this event are extending a courtesy so rarely extended; by providing a free and safe space to express joy, share story, and be in community. We would like to recommend, if possible, that you educate yourself on the harm it may cause Seattle’s BIPOC community in your pursuit of a free ticket to an event that is not expressly meant for you and your entertainment.”

After numerous cancellations and massive media coverage, LeFevre and Lipson apologized via Facebook on Saturday: “We apologize for the inquiry to the City of Seattle regarding Take B(l)ack Pride, it was not meant to be an attack or divide but to ensure equality for all. Capitol Hill Pride encourages community events and our mission is to recognize the LGBTQ+ community and all spectrums.”

“We sincerely want to elevate the segment of the LGBTQ community especially of black transgender women, recognize the important history and contributions and support this segment of the hidden rainbow,” the organizers contended. “At this time we have requested an invitation of a meeting of hosting parties to resolve any issues and find common ground.”

Though they issued the apology, the organizers are still adamant that charging white attendees a reparations fee is wrong.

“Dr. King once said he had a dream that we would live in a nation where a person should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” LeFevre told the Daily Mail. “I think that says it all.”

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