The Vancouver chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement says they want the Vancouver Police Department to not participate in this year’s Pride Parade.
In an open letter, the group says that since, historically, the Pride Parade stems from queer and trans people of colour fighting against police raids – most notably the Stonewall Riots in 1969 – that the VPD’s participation in the parade is “inappropriate and insulting” to those who fought and died for the cause.
“Embracing the institution in an event that originates from protest against its actions makes us justifiably uncomfortable,” reads the letter.
The VPD have responded by agreeing to one aspect of the Black Lives Matter movement’s requests: that an armoured response vehicle be removed from the parade.
“To us, this is a victory. If small and partial, it is nevertheless a huge indication that our work and advocacy around inclusion in the pride parade and in queer communities in general, is paying off,” reads a blog post by Black Lives Matter Vancouver.
“The removal of the Armoured Response Vehicle from the Vancouver Pride Society’s parade, while a small act, is symbolic to Black Lives Matter and especially to Black queer people.”
In a statement posted to their Facebook page, the Vancouver Pride Society says they met with Black Lives Matter Vancouver and “plan to continue dialogue aimed at making sure People of Colour and other groups that experience marginalization feel welcome at Pride.”
The Vancouver Police Department says they’re committed to working with groups like Black Lives matter to address their concerns.
“This year, our sworn and civilian staff and community volunteers will again be walking in the Pride Parade, to show support for our LGBTQ2+ community, our VPD staff, family and friends,” said VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer in a release.
Black Lives Matter staged a sit-in at Toronto’s Pride Parade earlier this month and presented a list of demands, including increasing representation amongst Pride Toronto staff.
Vancouver’s Pride Parade is happening this Sunday, July 31.