People’s Pride Coalition demands: Cut ties to pro-Israel weapons maker!

Thousands of people turned out on June 2 for the annual Pride festival and parade in Buffalo. While the parade is sponsored primarily by Evergreen Health and M&T Bank, many people joined the People’s Pride Coalition, an anti-capitalist contingent in the Pride parade. The Coalition raised the cause of Palestinian liberation, and demanded the expulsion of cops and bank contingents from Pride, as well as an end to union busting, for the fifth year in a row.

People’s Pride Coalition marches in the Buffalo Pride festival, June 2, 2024. (WW Photo: Arjae Red)

Although Palestinian liberation has been a focal point of the contingent every year, the demand takes on a special urgency with the ongoing genocide in Gaza perpetrated by the United States and Israel. This is amplified by the fact that Moog Inc., a weapons manufacturer that produces components for fighter jets and missiles, was a sponsor of the Buffalo Pride festival. Moog — which maintains offices in Israel — is currently arming the Israeli Occupation Forces and profiteering off the genocide in Gaza. Moog also maintains direct ties with Evergreen Health through its sales of medical components.

The People’s Pride Coalition’s main slogan this year was for Evergreen Health to cut ties with Moog and to disclose its relationships with all companies from which its products are sourced. Evergreen Health provides the majority of healthcare services for LGBTQIA2S+ people in Buffalo. The Pride festival’s ties to Moog and its blood money angers many people in the queer and trans communities, who see their liberation tied intimately with the national liberation of Palestine and the broader struggles against capitalism-imperialism.

Despite the People’s Pride Coalition being placed dead last in the parade lineup, the contingent grew to at least three times its original size by the end of the march. Onlookers cheered for a free Palestine and joined in the march as the contingent passed by. During the parade, the coalition announced an upcoming action outside Evergreen Health.

People’s Pride Coalition’s demands to Evergreen Health

Protesters gathered for a rally on June 13 outside Evergreen Health’s main office. The People’s Pride Coalition presented a letter to the healthcare provider demanding a meeting with company executives. The pressure is on Evergreen Health to disclose and cut its ties with Moog. The following is a lightly edited version of the letter to Evergreen executives:

“As members of the LGBTQ community in Buffalo, the community Evergreen claims to serve, we stand with Evergreen’s stated values of authentic down to earth harm reduction. We were, therefore, appalled to see MOOG Inc. among the sponsors of the 2024 Buffalo pride festival.

“MOOG is an arms dealer which supplies components for the manufacture and maintenance of the M-346, F-15, F-16, and F-35, all aircraft used by the Israeli military in their genocide of Gaza, and their stock price has sharply increased since the invasion began.

“For a healthcare nonprofit supposedly focused on harm reduction to have any relationship with an arms dealer profiting from genocide is unacceptable, but to put their name on a celebration of queer joy and liberation is insulting.

“We are also deeply concerned over the retaliation against workers who are doing real care for our community when those workers voted to unionize.

“Evergreen is supported by queer people, but the goodwill of our community has limits, and we will not be complicit.

“Therefore we, as Evergreen patients and as representatives of the LGBTQ community in Buffalo demand that Evergreen Health Services and all its related organizations immediately:

  1. Disclose each company that supplies medical equipment to its facilities
  2. Terminate all relationships with MOOG Inc, including but not limited to:
  • Purchasing of medical equipment supplied by MOOG Inc
  • Purchasing of medical equipment manufactured using components supplied by MOOG Inc
  • Any sponsorships accepted from MOOG Inc
  • Attendance at or involvement in any event sponsored or attended by MOOG Inc
  • Cease any and all retaliatory actions against employees of WNY [Western New York] Pride Center
  • “We will not rest until these demands are met. Genocide has no place in our community, our celebrations, or our healthcare.”

    It is also important to note that the workers at both Evergreen Health and the Pride Center of WNY (an affiliate of Evergreen Health) have recently formed unions and have been battling Evergreen’s union busting. Pride Workers United also went on strike the day of the Pride festival, marching in the parade against the Pride Center’s unfair labor practices committed in retaliation to the workers’ unanimous decision to unionize.

    Pride Workers United marches against union busting in the Buffalo Pride parade. (Photo: Pride Workers United)

    The People’s Pride Coalition consists of the following organizations: Green Party of Erie County, Marxist Youth League, Queen City Workers’ Center, State University of New York Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (SUNY BDS), University at Buffalo Queers(UBQ), UB Young Democratic Socialists of America, and Workers World Party-Buffalo Branch.
    Arjae Red

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    Arjae Red

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