Adam Dupuis's picture

Black Lives Matter Vancouver Ask Police To Withdraw From Pride Parade

 

Earlier this month I wrote a blog about how I thought the Black Lives Matter group went too far with their participation / disruption / protest during Pride Toronto. Black Lives Matter Claims Victory After Halting Toronto Pride Parade and  Pride Toronto Will Not Meet Demands From Black Lives Matter were two of my most read blogs that week. 

Then Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Dallas happened.  I felt like I was an evil person for feeling that BLM had no right to protest during a Pride parade.  I felt sick and thought many times that I should write some kind of retraction, but I didn't.  I didn't because once the shock of Sterling, Castile, Dallas lessened, I still felt the same way about Toronto.

There's a lot of feelings and thoughts about how BLM and Pride should or should not go hand-in-hand.  There's a lot of judgment thrown at BLM - 'this is how you should protest' and 'wtf are you doing protesting during a parade of fellow hate crime sufferers?'  We all have the right answers and none of us are correct.

The Vancouver Pride parade is scheduled to be held on July 31.  Will we see the same issues, concerns, demands, actions, as we did in Toronto?

Black Lives Matter Vancouver issued an open letter today (July 15) to the Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Pride Society.

Regarding police involvement in Vancouver's parade, the Vancouver Pride Society stated:

"We...know that our events like the Pride Parade…would not be possible without the support of our partners, including law enforcement. Vancouver Pride has not had requests from any organization to see police excluded from our events and we will continue working with police to educate and include them in ways that are appropriate. We understand that this may create barriers for some members of our community who feel they cannot access our events."

However, in an open letter addressed to both the VPS and the Vancouver Police Department, BLM-Vancouver stated that the VPS did not contact them directly.

In the letter, BLM-Vancouver explained that they "cannot divorce the policing institution from its historical and continued violence against Indigenous and PoC communities, racial profiling, or inaction around our missing Indigenous women".  

BLM-Vancouver announced that they will not participate in the Vancouver Pride parade "because we feel that Pride no longer represents community action, resistance and revolution but also as an act of solidarity with BLM chapters across North America to whom Pride parades have been made inaccessible. We wholeheartedly support the actions of other BLM chapters such as BLM Toronto and BLM San Francisco and although we may not face the same immediate threats of police brutality, we refuse to participate in the whitewashing, armament and exclusivity of any Pride Parade unless concrete and explicit commitments to the contrary are made.  The Pride Parade stems from the Stonewall Riots of 1969, led by trans and queer PoCs [people of colour] against police raids on the establishment. Police raids on bathhouses were commonplace in Toronto until 1981 and the ensuing riots were the roots of Toronto’s own Parade."

While BLM-Vancouver accepts police presence to perform civil services, they object to the VPD participating in the parade.

"Having the Vancouver Police Department on the ground to perform a civil service is understandable," they wrote. "Having the institution participate on a float in the organized festivities of the actual parade is inappropriate and insulting to those who came before us to make Pride celebrations possible, some of who even died for the cause. Embracing the institution in an event that originates from protest against its actions makes us justifiably uncomfortable." - the georgia straight

 

I guess I am still on my side of the fence when it comes to this BLM - Pride - Police issue.  If we disliked every group IN GENERAL that hated us, we should not allow ANY church groups no matter if they allow us to get married or not, we should not allow any parent groups like PFLAG since so many homeless LGBT youths are there because they were thrown out of their homes and out onto the streets, we should not let any sports groups march, no media groups, no government groups or politicians to march in any pride parade since so many laws are out there to hurt us, not help us, and we can still be fired for being gay.  Members of these groups have hated us for being who we are, pushed us out, ridiculed us, disowned us, and wrote laws against us before and some still do today. 

 

Consequently, BLM-Vancouver is asking the VPD to "voluntarily withdraw from marching in the Parade itself as a show of solidarity and understanding as to why participation in this particular manner perpetuates an unsafe atmosphere for the very same Indigenous, POC and Black communities the Vancouver Pride Society has committed to intentionally include."

However, their proposed solution is to replace a VPD-only float with a public-service float.

"We propose that a representative public service float, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others replaces the police-only float. This would still include officers who would like to participate. The float would no longer represent the police force as an institution that has been and remains fundamental to the perpetuation of structural violence against Black and brown bodies in North America." - the georgia straight

For the full article head over to Craig Takeuchi's report in The Georgia Straight.  There's more from the BLM letter and the issue of a military vehicle being in the parade. 

Why is a group like BLM being invited to Pride parades?  Do you support the BLM movement being invited?

Do you support the BLM actions at Pride Toronto?

Do you support the idea that police should not have a 'float' or march in a pride parade?

Do you agree that a public service float is a good compromise?

 

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/StraightLGBT or on Facebook.

Comments

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My Pride is inclusive. That's the point, everyone; no barriers.

When we say "not you, you're not included" the basis and spirit of Pride is diminished. And yes that includes the police. As a mature Trans female who grew up in Toronto, I have plenty of valid reason (s) to dislike police.

But I have put that aside for the sake of a better future, putting my hope for the future above my experiences. Putting the well-being of future members of the community above my unfortunate experiences.

I'm saddened by the events of Toronto this year while understanding and appreciating the merits of the BLM campaign. It was a misstep from their leadership and an opportunity for growth. 

As an involved Trans leader, I have asked the police to keep their numbers reasonable, to keep vehicles and special equipment out of a community event with no history of incidents. And yet welcome their participation because we need allies in uniform. 

Wishing everyone a Happy Pride ... let's remember that not everyone in the LGBT has basic human rights in Canada and that Pride is about growing.

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BLM is at it again, how dare they insert them selves into a gay function and celebration. I was so happy to see all communities in Victoria represented by their police force in the Gay Pride Parade here.  They are first responders to any event hat could happen in this day and age, maybe possibly saving my life. They were first responders in Orlando, putting their lives on the line for Gay people. I have zero respect for BLM, it is not their parade, it is not their time. The Gay Community has spent decades building a relationship with the police force and they are our friends.

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I am a gay white man that works as an RN in a Toronto hospital.  I have been out since the late 70s and participated in Toronto's first PRIDE.  I even protested when the bath house raids happened.  So my experience with the police has been on a broad spectrum of dislike and protest with discrimination to being greatful they now are an important part and reminder, we've come along way with tolerance and acceptance.  I use to work with a predominately black person of colour group of nurses and, the discrimination shown to me as a so called "BATTY BOY", makes me disgusted with Black Lives Matter extortion tactics and rhetoric.  They premeditatedly held the TORONTO PRIDE PARADE at ransom and, set off smoke bombs just for their 15 minutes of fame!  There is a huge growing movement of vitriol directed at BLM here.  They knowingly extorted organizers for a cause, when they were invited guests.  Shame on them!  There is also an emence growing group that is, "MY PRIDE INCLUDES THE POLICE!"  In the almighty words of another black gay queer man, "Sashey Away, Shantey!" BLM!

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First of all, I want to state I support Black Lives Matter, but I feel that BLM may be mixing up its message. Are they anti police brutality or anti police? They have had my support because the rhetoric I have heard is anti police brutality, but lately it has been coming across as anti police and that will go nowhere. Also, is police brutality based on race an issue in Canada? Usually we praise Canada for being more open minded and equal than we are in the U.S? Personally i believe you do not exclude in a movement that is meant to include so excluding the police would be wrong. Also, the LGBTQ community could be of assistance here. It was not all that long ago we were the victims of police brutality at protests and crimes against us were ignored. Now in many cities the police are among our strong allies.

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Angry black lesbians who are putting being black first should excuse themselves from the parade and let people who are interested in gay issues participate including the police

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Angry black lesbians putting being black first? Of course their skin color comes first. Remember, we choose to let people know if we are gay, lesbian, bi, transgender. In some cases it may be obvious, but unlike our sexual preference or identity, skin color cannot be hidden in most cases. That's what the BLM folks are saying, and is the basis of white privilege. 

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Then demonstrate at an event that puts being black first. BLM is a valid movement, and I respect it, understand the anger, and what it is trying to accomplish. It just can't hijack pride and twist it to it's own purpose. Use your own events. Let's not have BLM as the theme for Labor Day, St Patrick's Day, Easter, and Christmas. You can't have visibility 100% of the time. We have to live with normal days, our own celebrations, and down time. I'm not going to put BLM on my parent's 60th Anniversary Cake, I'm Sorry!

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I agree, and as I mentioned in another comment, BLM should not be dictating who can or cannot be in a parade. What I was responding to is what I interpreted as a misunderstanding by the person I replied to. For most people of color I know, being black is the lens by which everything, including sexuality,  is viewed, and this should not be a problem. So "an angry black lesbian" (his words, not mine), will most likely put being black first.

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Sorrry but they are way off base. Instead of working to find a solution they are just adding to the problems. They are acting like the schoolyard bully and losing all credibility. They are so wrapped up in themselves they cannot see the forest for the trees. Are there problems, yes, but saying you have to do it OUR way is wrong. Stay out of MY parade - I do not like your tactics and am all about inclusion not segregation.

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Police float? Sure. Military vehicles, probably not. My local Sherriff drove a friggin TANK in a Christmas parade - I'm still not sure military force combined well with the peaceful message of the season. So while I agree that Police and other first responders as well as politicians and parents and people from every group (INCLUDING BLM) should be invited to march, if their intention is displays of aggression or force they should be invited to re-think their participation.

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What a bunch of BS. There are plenty of LGBTQ people in the police force, not to mention plenty of people of color. This is in addition to all the other historically "oppressive" groups that march in Pride parades: military groups, religious groups, etc. Besides which - this is not BLM's parade, this is the Vancouver Pride org's parade. You have a problem with a group marching? Say you can't march because of a conflict of interest - and they'll put you far apart from that group. But don't make demands when you've been invited. Sorry BLM - you just lost ALL support from THIS queer person-of-color!

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BLM should not be in a pride parade that promotes equality and strength. They should not be acting like terrorists insisting that police cannot be in the parade. Pride is about all races and all genders supporting one another. 

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Black lives matter should start their own parade.  Then they can control who is in it.  

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I hope the police continue to participate in our pride parade here in Vancouver.

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