A quick follow-up to the news that At the Beach, today's highlight of Los Angeles Black Pride, was unceremoniously canceled. Crowds are returning to Point Dune Beach in Malibu today, although there will be no centralized functions, space or official events. Authorities say ATB promoters, not law enforcement, canceled the function and deny "harassment and racism". It seems incompetence and mismanagement are the reasons behind the cancellation.
"The organizer missed a meeting with the involved government agencies in May and did not take advantage of an offered make-up meeting with Beaches and Harbors," Carl Deely, commander with the Los Angeles Sherriff's Department, tells Club Rimshot's Joe Hawkins. Deely maintains his department requested modest security improvements, such as shuttle buses and "reserve deputies, at a reduced cost", because last year's celebration was marred by fights and a handgun incident. Deely adds ATB organizers owe money to the county. None of these data points were mentioned by promoters in their announcement of the cancellation—and some black gay Angelenos resent the spin.
In the three days since ATB announced the cancellation, a number of readers have emailed Hawkins and Rod 2.0 with a laundry list of criticisms against Los Angeles Black Pride. Milton Smith, a black gay Los Angeles HIV educator, faults organizers for mismanagement and lacking a strategy to increase attendance and participation. ATB has "become a yearly on again off again, meager celebration which hasn’t made any inroads towards becoming a permanent fixture in our community, let alone nationally," he says, adding, "This shouldn’t just be a day “At The Beach” it should be a day to honor the past, celebrate the present, and ignite enthusiasm for the future."
Some Background ...
ATB Canceled, Organizers Cite "Harassment" [R20]
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