SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – When Chris Kosakowski first heard of the arrests of 31 people affiliated with a white nationalist group near a North Idaho Pride event on Saturday, he was conflicted.
“I was not shocked (that it happened)…but I was surprised it didn’t go the way that we have heard these things go in many situations,” Kosakowski said.
His reaction to the arrests in Idaho, where a bystander called the police after spotting a U-Haul filled with men in matching outfits who were ultimately charged with conspiracy to riot, came just a day after another grim memory for the LGBTQ community: the 6-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting.
Kosakowski is the secretary of CNY Pride, the not-for-profit that organizes events for the LGBTQ+ community in Central New York, including the Pride Festival and Parade.
In response to the arrests in Idaho, CNY Pride shared a graphic to its Instagram story detailing safety measures at the upcoming Pride festival and parade on June 25.
Ahead of the first in-person Pride event since 2019, CNY Pride says it will bolster security with:
- Syracuse Police Department officers working on the periphery of the event
- A hired private security firm on the ground at the event
Lt. Matthew Malinowski of the Syracuse Police Department said that potentially dangerous situations like what happened in Idaho can be prevented if attendees have security on their mind.
“The community needs to make sure they are always putting security on the forefront of their brain…you need to keep your head on a swivel and pay attention if something seems out of place,” Malinowski said.
Malinowski emphasized that if attendees see anything out of place or hear of anything potentially dangerous, to call 911.
“A lot of time people seem hesitant to call the police because they feel like they will be wasting our time, but it’s completely the opposite,” Malinowski said.
While Chris Kosakowski is upset that events like Pride are potential security risks, he urges people to remember how Pride began.
“The first Pride was a riot that we came here together to find community, to find space, to push back against what the world says we shouldn’t be doing. And with any level of resistance, there’s always going to be a bit of a shake up that’s going to happen,” Kosakowski said.
Tyler Johnson is a senior at Tully High School and will serve as the grand marshal of the CNY Pride parade. Johnson said that, in the face of hatred, it’s even more important for people to go to Pride.
CNY Pride runs from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on June 25 at the Syracuse Inner Harbor. The event will include live music, arts showcases, and drag performances, If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more information about the event, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.