The “Ball to Action: Mandating Visibility for Queer & Black Trans Lives” event was a part of the 24-hour protest led by the Abolition Park organization on Tuesday, July 28, at Pier I. The “ballroom-styled” direct-action event invited the House/Ballroom community and Kiki Scene to speak out against the police and state violence that took place at #OccupyCityHall on July 22. One of the Ball’s organizers, Jonathan Lykes Garcon, was also one of the people who launched the #OccupyCityHall movement that successfully achieved the demand of defunding the police by $1 billion.
During the Ball’s opening speech, Jonathan shared that on the morning of July 22 at 3:45 a.m., police raided #OccupyCityHall, kicking out the protesters and getting rid of ≈$20K of merchandise by throwing it into the trash. Amongst the things destroyed by the cops at #OccupyCityHall were tables that were serving free food 24 hours a day, a people’s library, and a bodega.
“Ball to Action” was cut short by the police presence. A few attendees received phone calls warning them about the police blocking access to Pier I. Rumors of the NYPD’s plans to arrest everyone in attendance spread like wildfire and people left the event shortly after. One of the attendees asked a cop if they were really going to arrest everyone in attendance, to which the officer replied that after the pier’s closure at 1 a.m. people might get citations.
Two contestants from HBO’s Legendary TV show, Shy Ebony from the House of Ebony and Zay Lanvin from the season’s runner-up House of Lanvin, attended the Ball among many other participants.