Black Trans Lives Protest at Persad Center

Persad calls police, implies Black Trans Lives protestors are "fake people"

Friday, October 22 — TransYOUniting held their protest against the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh’s pending trademarks for “Pittsburgh Pride” and “Pittsburgh Pridefest.” The location – outside of the Persad Center in Lawrenceville – was announced by Dena Stanley, CEO of TransYOUniting, on Wednesday during a Facebook Live video and Facebook event posting. 

In response to the protestors, Persad called the police, considered an act of violence in the queer and trans people of color communities. Five Pittsburgh police cars responded to the scene. Pittsburgh Police allowed the protestors to stay. Persad Center posted an image on their Facebook page that read “REAL PEOPLE. PERSAD,” the implication being that the administrators of Persad are real people while the queer and trans people of color protesting outside are not real people. The post appeared immediately above a previous post about anti-bullying.

Misgivings about the Persad Center arose ever since Delta Foundation President Marty Healey became CEO of Persad. Under the guise of cutting costs in the pandemic economy, he fired Persad’s youth programs coordinator, Lyndsey Sickler, in June of last year. The termination led to the end of Persad’s only program for queer people of color. No other Persad staff members were let go – rather, Healey hired former Delta Foundation employee, Christine Bryan, as Persad’s Director of Communications and Development.

Now it is believed that Healey intends to transfer the trademarks to the Persad Center. In this way, the Delta Foundation would continue to profit off future Pride festivals and take funds away from Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ community. 

The protest demands were as follows: 

  1. “We demand the complete dissolution of the Delta Foundation.
  2. We demand that, if the Pride Patent goes through, the Delta Foundation surrenders it to BLACK TRANS LEADERSHIP, who represent our community.
  3. We demand that Martin Healey and Chris Bryant be removed/give up all positions and leadership roles at Persad bc of trauma they have caused.
  4. We demand that the Delta Foundation be transparent about the missing 600,000$.
  5. We demand that all Delta assets and equipment be donated to local queer organizations that serve Trans and Nonbinary POC, such as Trans Youniting, Hugh Lane, Proud Haven, and True T.
  6. We demand that the corporations and businesses of Pittsburgh donate funds directly to BLACK LEAD QUEER ORGANIZATIONS, such as orgs mentioned above.
  7. We demand a Transparency and Accountability Town Hall Meeting with the Board of Persad to address how to move forward from harm their administration continues to enact against our community.”

The night before, Persad made a post on Facebook appealing to QBurgh co-owner, Jim Sheppard, and TransYOUniting’s CEO, Dena Stanley, on behalf of their clients and staff. They accused the two of being “current” members of the Delta Foundation misplacing the community’s anger on a mental health agency. Comments on the post were disabled.

QBurgh was not an organizer of the protest, however, QBurgh LLC did received an extension on their opposition to Delta’s trademarks last month. TransYOUniting is still collecting signatures on their petition against the pending trademarks.