626: Jay Walker, part 1: Organizing New York City’s Queer Liberation March

September 11, 2022 by Joshua
in Podcast

Regular readers and listeners know my passion for cleaning my local park, Washington Square Park, and how my heart breaks at how we abuse this sliver of a vestige of nature, especially the mornings after the Queer Liberation Marches of the past two years.

As an organizer, Jay didn’t have to respond to my request, but he did. By the end of this recording, you’ll hear us talk about reducing waste next year. We begin by talking about the evolution of the pride marches from when he started attending in the 1980s. He describes them becoming more corporate, less participatory, but most of all, controlled by the cops, not necessarily helping the march. The cops often seem like they’re just dominating parades; all New York City parades, not just this march. As a New Yorker, his description struck a chord. His split with the older march sounds almost heartbreaking.

Then we talk about the mess attendees created. I point out that nearly everyone identifies ground and waterway waste as sanitation issues, but I see them as too-much-supply issues. We talked about collaborating to reduce the waste people bring and buy at the event. For decades, if people brought things to marches and parades, they didn’t leave plastic garbage behind. If they did, not nearly in the quantities of today.

It may not seem fair for people to have to decline buying trinkets and bottled water when they just want to have fun, but attendees before cheap, abundant plastic enjoyed parades as much as today. I expect there will be more fun if we communicate to next year’s attendees to refuse disposable anything.

We also did the Spodek Method and you may be able to tell from the picture I used how it went before you listen to our second episode.

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