Black Lives Matter Vancouver to hold March on Pride protest

May 25 2017, 6:55 pm

The Vancouver chapter of the activist group Black Lives Matter is planning to hold a March on Pride this June, in protest against police inclusion in Vancouver Pride Parade.

The march will take place on Sunday, June 25, and will begin at Emery Barnes Park at noon before weaving its way up Davie Street to Jim Deva Plaza.

In an event post on Facebook organizers asks supporters to join Black Lives Matter in “divesting from parades that are unsafe and exclusive.”

“The City of Vancouver lacks an inclusive Pride march; one that centres marginalized LGBTQ/2S populations and is actively against institutions of power and oppression,” write organizers.

“Black Lives Matter chapters across the globe have been instrumental in reframing Pride parades – Who are they for? Who do they centre? Whose lives matter?”

Organizers say they want their March on Pride to recentre LGBTQ/2S “pride” as political, anti-police, and a protest.

“The institutions of policing, state-violence and incarceration have dominated a protest that was started by trans women of colour,” write organizers.

“Capitalism, pinkwashing and corporatization have erased the political origins of community-led LGBTQ/2S events.”

As well as the Black Lives Matter Vancouver group, the march will include other queer, trans, Two-Spirit and intersex people of colour and marginalized groups, say organizers.

“This event is open to everyone except institutions that criminalize, brutalize and kill Black people and other marginalized groups,” say organizers.

“Banners and signs are welcomed (with relevant messages) although no corporations or businesses are permitted.”

Organizers ask that allies, particularly “white folks,” help protest and support organizers and marchers along the route.

Police allowed in official Pride Parade

News of the group’s protest comes one week after it was announced the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP will be allowed to participate in the Pride Parade.

However, they will be subject to conditions, like walking with the City of Vancouver group, mostly wearing t-shirts instead of uniform, and a ban on patrol cars and armoured vehicles.

As well, both the Pride Society and the VPD will take part in a series of listening circles afterwards, so members of the LGBTQ community can share their stories with police.

The Pride Society examined police participation after the local Black Lives Matter chapter protested the parade last year and started a petition to block future police involvement.

Such a ban was met with some opposition in the community, leading to a petition that countered Black Lives Matter’s calls against police participation.

According to Pride organizers the new policies were created after consultation of more than 300 community members and groups, including police, over the last 10 months.

Pride originates in the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969.

The violent riots saw huge numbers of the LGBTQ community fight back after police raided the Stonewall Inn, and started trying to arrest its gay and trans clientele.

In 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, to mark the anniversary of the riots.

This year’s Vancouver Pride Parade is scheduled for Sunday, August 6.

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Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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