Black Lives Matter holds alternate Pride march in Vancouver

Black Lives Matter holds alternate Pride march in Vancouver”

This year, the Vancouver Pride Society and police agreed that officers will march as part of the City of Vancouver entry to the parade instead of on a separate float as they have in previous years.

"Police represent histories of violence and brutality towards black people and indigenous people and different people of colour both in Canada and the USA and across the globe", Blain said.

Black Lives Matter Vancouver asked the Vancouver Police Department last summer to voluntarily withdraw from the parade as "a show of solidarity and understanding" because the presence of uniformed officers makes some minority groups feel unsafe.

Black Lives Matter Vancouver organized the March on Pride in response to the continued official police presence in the city's annual Pride parade.

The Vancouver Pride Society reached an agreement with local police earlier this year that will allow officers to walk in the August 6 parade alongside other city staff members and fire officials. No marked police vehicles will be in the parade.

"So we made an appearance to actually remind folks that Black Queer and Trans people are here, have issues that we want to talk about and address and Black Queer and Trans people are a central and crucial part of Pride".

Black Lives Matter organizer Cicely Blain says Pride was started as a protest against police violence on minorities and Sunday's event was meant to follow that tradition and allow people of colour to feel safe and be the focus of celebration.

"Black people and queer people of colour can be without having that fear of police being involved in that parade", said Joy Gyamfi, one of the rally's organizers.

Most recently, Solomon Akinoye, a black man, alleged he was beaten and wrongfully arrested in a case of mistaken identity.

Toronto police and Pride Toronto have said that they are engaged in productive conversations about how to move their relationship forward while incorporating some of the feedback from Black Lives Matter.

"If people recognize us in the street they'll say it to our face as well", Blain said.

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