FIERCE Holds 'Know Your Rights Ball,' Responds to Stop and Frisk

Courtesy of NerdScarf Photography

FIERCE, a leading organization committed to the well-being of LGBT youth in New York, is continually at work with their Safe Space Saves Lives campaign. Last Saturday, August 11, FIERCE held their 4th Annual KiKi Ball in conjunction with The Kiki Coalition: The Know Your Rights Ball. Some of the categories of resistance  included "Critiquing Stop and Frisk" and "The Privatization of Queer Public Space."

The ball comes at the heels of the successful Silent March to End Stop and Frisk where protesters marched in solidarity down New York’s 5th Avenue in June of 2012. Stop and Frisk has continually targeted communities of color and LGBT youth are particularly at risk.

The West Village piers have historically been safe spaces for New York’s LGBT youth and groups like FIERCE have been at the fore since the space has been threatened. In 2001, major changes on the pier began to take place, but the voices of the LGBT youth and community organizations who serve those youth were missing from the discussion at community meetings.

In 2005, FIERCE launched its Safe Space Save Lives campaign to continue their outreach to LGBT youth and ensure that any radical changes were being made with the youth in mind. Since their involvement, they have had great successes, including the elimination of a $25,000 permit fee to mobile service vans that provided service and outreach for the youth on the piers. Read more about Safe Space Saves Lives.

Courtesy of NerdScarf Photography

Last Saturday, FIERCE used its safe space as a place of education, cultural awareness and resistance to discriminatory police practices put forth by the NYPD like “Stop and Frisk.”  Organizer, Tara Tabassi of FIERCE had this to say:

“This year's 2012 Know Yours Rights Ball was a momentous victory of FIERCE's Safe Space Saves Lives campaign to ensure that the West Village and Piers remain a safe space for LGBTQ Youth. On Saturday, the Piers were filled with hundreds of young people standing up to transform NYPD's discriminatory policing practices (such as Stop & Frisk), fusing a long-standing tradition of expressing Vogue and Ballroom culture on the Piers with community organizing to know our rights. It was a beautiful night of resistance.

OutFM was there to cover the event as well. You can listen to interviews from the participants, here. The various members all came out to compete, but additionally bring a much-needed awareness about rights and protecting these safe spaces.

Check out photos! Courtesy of NerdScarf Photography.