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Seattle Pride organizers apologize after complaint about reparations fee

A pair of Seattle LGBT Pride event organizers, who complained to city officials that a separate pride event seeking to charge white people up to $50 for 'reparations' to attend was reverse racism have apologized after sparking a backlash.   

Philip Lipson and Charlette LeFevre are organizers of Capitol Hill Pride in Seattle. They issued their apology on Facebook over the weekend.

The pair had complained to the city about a separate event, called 'Taking B[l]ack Pride,' which is set to be held Saturday and is charging white people up to $50 to attend as 'reparations.' They said such a fee was reverse racism.

But their complaints sparked a furious woke backlash - and the pair apologized, saying their complaint was 'not meant to be an attack or divide but to ensure equality for all.' Still, they have stood by their criticism that the charge is wrong, they told DailyMail.com

Organizers of the black-focused event, meanwhile, still are set to charge the $50 fee after the city stood behind them.

Lipson and LeFevre, who said she is part Asian, sparked controversy after the Seattle Human Rights Commission, which advises the City Council, shared their initial complaint to the city. That complaint asked if the $50 charge violated any laws.

But the commission slammed the complaint on Friday - saying the pair needed to 'educate' themselves.

LeFevre, however, maintains that charging only white people for attendance regardless of the circumstance 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,' she told Daily Mail.com. 'I think that says it all.' 

Taking B[l]ack Pride, is free, but organizers, Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network and Queer the Land, have told 'white allies and accomplices' they 'will be charged a $10 to $50 reparations fee that will be used to keep this event free of cost for Black and brown trans and queer community.' 

Neither event is associated with Seattle Pride, the city's main LGBTQ event, which is hosting its events virtually this year. Lipson and LeFevre's pride event also is separate from the city's main pride celebration.

Capitol Hill Pride organizers Philip Lipson and Cherlette LeFevre apologized after issuing a complaint to the City of Seattle that a separate pride event requiring up to $50 'reparations fee' for white attendees constituted reverse discrimination

In their complaint Lipson and LeFevre, wrote to the City of Seattle saying: '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.

'We consider this reverse discrimination in its worse (sic) form and we feel we are being attacked for not supporting due to disparaging and hostile e-mails.

'Please review this event's stated admission policy as we feel this event is violating Seattle, King County, State and Federal equality laws.' 

The Seattle Human Rights Commission, which shared its response Friday on Twitter, along with Lipson and LeFevre's complaint, claimed that Take B(l)ack Pride 'does not in fact violate any of your human rights as states in the UN Declaration of Human Rights'. 

The letter didn't answer the question as to whether any laws were being violated by the $10-$50 charge.

The Taking B(l)ack Pride event plans to charge white attendees between $10 and $50 'reparations' - despite being held in a publicly-funded park 

The commission continued: 'Furthermore, we would urge you to examine the very real social dynamics and ramifications of this issue.

'We would like to recommend, if possible, that you educate yourself on the harm it may cause Seattle's BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) in your pursuit of a free ticket to an event that is not expressly meant for you and your entertainment.' 

It was unsigned, although the co-chairs of the Seattle Human Rights Commission are named on its website as Tyrone Grandison, Liz Pachaud and Jackie Turner. 

Facing backlash after the commission's stunt, as well as a wave of cancellations from entertainers and and community groups to their event, according to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, Lipson and LeFevre formally apologized.

LeFevre and Lipson said the complaint was not meant to divide, but to ensure equality 

'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,' they wrote. 

'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.

'At this time we have requested an invitation of a meeting of hosting parties to resolve any issues and find common ground.'

The commission posted Lipson and LeFevre's letter to Twitter, as well as its response, in which it disagreed with the pair's stance

The Seattle Human Rights Commission lists Tyrone Grandison (left) Jackie Turner (center) and Liz Pachaud(right) as co-chairs of the organization, which serves as an advisory group to the Seattle City Council

LeFevre also told DailyMail.com that she herself is half Asian, and has long been a supporter for communities of color, including inviting Jimi Hendrix's brother Leon Hendrix to Capitol Hill Pride's 2010 festival, and advocated for the removal of a local Confederate monument.

'So you can see why it's disturbing when people say I am racist,' she said.  

Reaction to the apology was largely mixed, with some saying it was too little too late, and others agreeing with the two. 

Reaction to the apology was mixed with some saying it was flimsy and others agreeing with the two

'Lemme get this straight,' wrote Ruben David on Facebook of LeFevre. 'She causes all this massive drama. Then requests a meeting to work out said drama she caused? ... She need to have a meeting with herself.'

'They're not apologizing about the letter. They're just sorry we all got to see it,' replied Adam Allen 

'This woman needs to go away,' posted Dan Williams.

Marchers are pictured at Seattle Pride 2020, with events this year causing controversy 

Others, however, agreed with the two's stance.

'The hypocrisy of fighting racism by being racist is stunning,' wrote Thomas Hickok. 'So much for MLK's dream of not being judged by the color of one's skin.' 

'That's the democrat party for ya,' Troy Brock responded. 

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