Black Lives Matter's move to halt Toronto's Pride parade Sunday while the group protested police involvement in events may have been controversial, but change is uncomfortable, a group spokesperson said.
Black Lives Matter staged a sit-in midway through the massive parade and made a series of demands that were eventually agreed to by Pride Toronto's leaders, who were caught offguard by the protest. The demands included removing Toronto police floats and booths in Pride marches, parades and community events.
The parade — which included Justin Trudeau as the first sitting prime minister to join the march — resumed after about a half-hour delay. – cbc.ca
Janaya Khan, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter, told CBC Radio's Metro Morning that allowing the police to march in the parade made some communities feel unsafe, and contributed to the event's "anti-blackness."
The group issued a clear statement after its demands were met: "We shut it down. We won."
"We didn't halt the parade, we made progress in the parade," Khan said.
Alicia Hall, co-chair of Pride Toronto, said her organization will meet with Toronto police to discuss the force's participation in any future festivities. The police chief frequently marches in the parade along with dozens of officers, including some who are part of the LBGT community.
Protest not surprising, Pride Toronto says
Hall said she was disappointed that Black Lives Matter didn't notify organizers about the demonstration.
In February, Pride Toronto invited Black Lives Matter to help lead the parade, praising the group for its fierce protests about how police in the city treat black people — specifically, the practice of carding and the shooting death of Andrew Loku. The Toronto father of five was killed by police on July 5, 2015 near Eglinton Avenue West and Caledonia Road. Black Lives Matter has been highly critical of the Special Investigation Unit and the fact only parts of the SIU's report into Loku's death were released.
Speaking about the Pride parade Sunday, Hall said, "I can't say I was shocked" about what happened.
Hall said she doesn't feel Pride Toronto lost by siding with Black Lives Matter. Instead, she called it "a moment of progress."
Mathieu Chantelois, Pride Toronto's executive director, used a black feather pen to sign the group's list of demands, which also included a commitment to increase representation among Pride Toronto staff and to better support black events during Pride.
Gay police officer criticizes move
Pride's decision to meet the demands has already been met with criticism.
Chuck Krangle, a Toronto police constable who is gay, wrote an open letter to the organization that concludes: "Exclusion does not promote inclusion."
Krangle said seeing hundreds of police officers walking in the Pride parade was an eye-opening experience.
"I realized that my employer fully supports this part of me, and so many others like me," Krangle writes in the letter, which you can read here.
Weeks before the parade, police Chief Mark Saunders apologized for the 1981 bathhouse raids, when officers armed with crowbars and sledgehammers arrested some 300 men.
More than 90 per cent of the charges were eventually dropped, and the raids galvanized Toronto's LGBT community to fight for their rights and find a political voice. – cbc.ca
I'm not black but I'll share my opinion anyway. If we disliked and hated every group IN GENERAL that hated us, we should not allow ANY church groups, parent groups (PFLAG, etc), sports groups, media groups, government groups, or politicians. These groups have had members that have hated us for being who we are, pushed us out, ridiculed us, and wrote laws against us before and some still do today.
And there's also, "How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?" Ohhh, that was a bible verse, but it works. To speak more to the correct yourself before finding fault in others, let me share a Facebook post form a good friend of mine that lives in Toronto.
Wow, where do I even start. Ok, let me start by saying that I have no real objection to the #BlackLivesMatter sit in per se. The Pride parade is, in itself, a political statement. However, I question the groups motives, claims of "anti-blackness" and their own diversity. Look, suddenly, there's a gay male member trotted out for the occasion! I had only seen women in the group before.
Has there been another all-Black group represented in the Toronto Pride parade before? I've seen a lot of Pride parades but I can't think of an all-Black LGBTQ2 group. Why is that? Maybe (and this is just conjecture on my part) it's because the Black community, world-wide, is one of the least tolerant. As an actual gay, black male, of West Indian heritage, in a relationship with a gay, white male, I notice the prejudice. I see it in the laws still in use in Black countries, especially in the Caribbean. I see it in the messages from Black churches. I see it in "Greenleaf" on OWN! I see it in my own family. Would my uncles in Trinidad walk in a Pride parade next to me? Hell, no! One didn't even want to speak to me at his son's wedding.
Look at the composition of a group like PFLAG. For the Black folks, PFLAG "is a national charitable organization, founded by parents who wished to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their non-heterosexual children." There are very few Black parents in this organization. Look at the all-White board. If "Black Lives Matter", where are you, parents, because I already know why your son/daughter don't go to church anymore.
The Pride parade lacks "blackness" because the Black community lacks real pride for it's LGBTQ2 children. That means more than just tolerance; it means love and acceptance. I have that from my own parents but many still do not.
Black Lives Matter, your obsession with one aspect of being Black in this world blinds you to our own hypocrisies. You don't care about me unless I support you or I wave a stick at a cop (which will never EVER happen). Prejudice on either side will never provide a solution.
See you at the gay Caribana float, darlings! – my friend.
What are your thoughts?
Are you upset that the Black Lives Matter protesting during Toronoto Pride?
Do you think it was the right place to draw attention to their cause?
Do you think people like me (non-Black) should STFU about this subject?
Was the Toronto Pride protest on the level of them protesting at the Bernie Sanders' Seattle rally?