Black Lives Matter Toronto briefly halts Pride parade

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Mr. Magoo
Black Lives Matter Toronto briefly halts Pride parade

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Mr. Magoo

Quote:
Members of the Black Lives Matter Toronto group briefly halted the Pride parade today, holding up the marching for about 30 minutes.

The parade didn't re-start until after Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois signed a document agreeing to the group's demands.

Good thing he had a pen with him.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Thanks for the link Magoo.... of course it leaves me wondering if any of this was brought up at the organizational meetings that go on for literally months before the parade.

Unionist

They had police floats??

Caissa

BLM's behaviour was less than stellar, imho.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

They had police floats??

I think every one I have been at, including last months here in Saskatoon, has had reps from the police and other emergency and public sector employees.

The army was there too. Might not be your cup of tea, or mine, but it is of interest to some LGBT people. Remember Don't ask Don't tell down in the states?

Meanwhile, in Manitoba, who is there to back up the parade when the elected officials are not:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-rcmp-steinbach-pride-par...

 

6079_Smith_W
Ken Burch

I stand with BLM on this, and the demands were perfectly reasonable, and the Pride organizers did the right thing in agreeing to the demands.  Don't know if BLM tried to meet with the organizers prior to this year's parade, but it is possible that they felt the organizers would not respond unless the issue was forced. 

 

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

It does leave me wondering, is BLM going to intervene to protest the Toronto Police Service's continued participation in the annual launch of Caribana, Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Toronto Caribbean Carnival? Will they be holding the organizers of that event to the same standard regarding the hiring of indigenous people, the transgendered and other margninalized communities? I have no problem with grandstanding (ACT UP proved the effectiveness of the tactic), but I do crave a certain amount of consistency.

Caissa

And what would the consequences of rejecting those demands have been?

pookie

Pride TO's executive director says Pride won't be bound to any of BLMTO's demands until it has consulted with the community.  He signed the paper to get the parade moving:

 

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/07/04/police-chief-waiting-on-prid...

 

TO Star columnist Desmond Cole weighs in on Newstalk 1010 (midway down page)

 

http://www.newstalk1010.com/news/2016/07/04/listen-police-union-slams-de...

pookie

bagkitty wrote:

It does leave me wondering, is BLM going to intervene to protest the Toronto Police Service's continued participation in the annual launch of Caribana, Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Toronto Caribbean Carnival? Will they be holding the organizers of that event to the same standard regarding the hiring of indigenous people, the transgendered and other margninalized communities? I have no problem with grandstanding (ACT UP proved the effectiveness of the tactic), but I do crave a certain amount of consistency.

I dunno.  Pride is way more significant, politically, than Caribana.  I think activists are entitled to target selectively based on what they expect the results will be.

6079_Smith_W

Sure, but do they have the right to tell  LGBT people they can't march in their own pride parade?

... wearing the uniforms which reflect their workplace, which has also been a part of their struggle?

Activists have the right to raise whatever issues they want. The question is do they have the right to deny others access.

That is the gist of this agreement which they held up the parade to get the organizers to sign.

 

6079_Smith_W

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/black-lives-matter-pride-protest-1...

And it is academic, because they aren't necessarily going to honour that request, which is completely fair, considering it was signed under duress.

 

kropotkin1951

Here is a piece from Rabble. Being neither gay nor black I wil leave it to those communities to decide what tactics are acceptable. Personally I agree with this assessement of the modern day Pride Parades but since it is not my event I normally don't air that opinion.

Quote:

This is probably because the Pride Parade has long been a vanilla showing of corporate Pride. In between the school buses of supportive teachers and librarians, union activists, community groups and interest organizations, are the major banks, Air Canada workers jumping around in mini airplanes, and Kijiji.

It's an example of bourgeois liberation: being gay is not only OK, you can take it to the bank (literally).

Many activists have made quiet peace with this fact. There are other events that inject the necessary politics into Pride.

But this is why Black Lives Matter's protest was so stunning. They actually did it. They stopped the parade to demand that Pride Toronto better reflect Black queer and Trans Torontonians. They made the most apolitical Pride event a political one, and pissed off the right people in the process.

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/nora-loreto/2016/07/black-lives-matter-m...

MegB

I fully support what BLMTO did. When you're marginalized, direct action is the way to go. It's what works.

6079_Smith_W

Well the action worked, in that people are paying attention. Does that mean all those demands must be met? No.

 

milo204

I have to admit, i have seen a lot of BLM activists being jerks to people for no reason, just screaming at peoples faces when someone tries to talk to them, ...yeah a lot of times it comes off as arrogant, abusive and intolerant.   Like the ex-tea party republican turned BLM activist who jumped on stage at the bernie rally in seattle and just screamed at everyone and ultimately derailed the whole thing. 

and i think people would be more understanding if they made an attempt to negotiate and talk to these groups about what they want in the spirit of solidarity first before resulting to these tactics.  like if queers against apartheid had done this after being shut out of pride, i'd get it.  but when you're included, and even given an "honorary" spot in the parade and then decide to do your negotiating in this manner it seems like they're  using peoples willingness to engage to brow beat them into agreeing w their demands with no consultation. 

personally i think activism works best when the confrontational tactics are directed at the powerful, on their turf and citizens, allies and potential allies are engaged with in the spirit of mutual respect, compassion and understanding.

 

6079_Smith_W

I think the counter-argument to that is that it is not just about the rich and powerful. It is about all of us.

And if we want to talk rudeness and respect, being concerned about being shot kind of trumps verbal abuse.

So I get the tactic. And while ultimately this is something between those communities, I will repeat that the validity of the concerns doesn't mean anyone has to concede all of those demands.

 

Unionist

MegB wrote:

I fully support what BLMTO did. When you're marginalized, direct action is the way to go. It's what works.

Yup. And your tactics will never sit entirely well with the more comfortable.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Unionist wrote:

MegB wrote:

I fully support what BLMTO did. When you're marginalized, direct action is the way to go. It's what works.

Yup. And your tactics will never sit entirely well with the more comfortable.

Indeed, looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is interrupted by gay activists demanding the organizers denounce governments throughout the Caribbean for their criminalization of same sex activity and admonish those participating in the parade who hold homophobic sentiments.

MegB

Unionist wrote:

MegB wrote:

I fully support what BLMTO did. When you're marginalized, direct action is the way to go. It's what works.

Yup. And your tactics will never sit entirely well with the more comfortable.

Yes, and that's entirely the point. Pride in Toronto is so mainstream and corporatized that it really needed shaking up.

Sineed

bagkitty wrote:

Unionist wrote:

MegB wrote:

I fully support what BLMTO did. When you're marginalized, direct action is the way to go. It's what works.

Yup. And your tactics will never sit entirely well with the more comfortable.

Indeed, looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is interrupted by gay activists demanding the organizers denounce governments throughout the Caribbean for their criminalization of same sex activity and admonish those participating in the parade who hold homophobic sentiments.

This was exactly my thought also. And in the wake of the Orlando massacre, I found this gesture to be especially churlish.

wage zombie

bagkitty wrote:

Indeed, looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is interrupted by gay activists demanding the organizers denounce governments throughout the Caribbean for their criminalization of same sex activity and admonish those participating in the parade who hold homophobic sentiments.

Did BLM ask Pride Toronto to do anything external to its organization?  Seems like a bizarre analogy.

swallow swallow's picture

The protest, like many tings, has a historical context. It's only this year that Blockorama has been permitted to return from the space that Pride Toronto threw it out of some years back. It's only weeks since a Black Lives Matter presence was shouted down at a police-attended event in Toronto's gay village with the (to me and many others, very racist) taunt "All Lives Matter." The former South Asian stage was shut down, apparely to make room for more pounding dance music. The list goes on. 

It's partly in an effort at redressing the historical marginalization of people of colour in the pride festivities that BLM was made the honoured group this year. Pride Toronto is currently working to improve on this front, and has splendidly avoided demonizing BLM protesters. Who, by the way, are mostly LGBT+ people themselves. 

[url=http://www.dailyxtra.com/toronto/news-and-ideas/news/black-lives-matter-... coverage[/url]

[url=http://www.dailyxtra.com/toronto/news-and-ideas/news/black-lives-matter-... Black Lives Matter is Toronto's most effective LGBT movement[/url]

[url=http://www.dailyxtra.com/toronto/news-and-ideas/news/pride-toronto-backt... said that he was on board with all of the demands except for excluding police floats from Pride.[/url]

Consult the community on the one demand, meet the others which are about inclusion -- seems a good call. 

pookie

bagkitty wrote:

Indeed, looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is interrupted by gay activists demanding the organizers denounce governments throughout the Caribbean for their criminalization of same sex activity and admonish those participating in the parade who hold homophobic sentiments.

Do you not accept BLM activists as part of the queer community?  

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Sure, but do they have the right to tell  LGBT people they can't march in their own pride parade?

... wearing the uniforms which reflect their workplace, which has also been a part of their struggle?

Activists have the right to raise whatever issues they want. The question is do they have the right to deny others access.

That is the gist of this agreement which they held up the parade to get the organizers to sign.

 

If their uniforms symbolize oppression and violence against black people, why not?

 

pookie

Sineed wrote:

bagkitty wrote:

Unionist wrote:

MegB wrote:

I fully support what BLMTO did. When you're marginalized, direct action is the way to go. It's what works.

Yup. And your tactics will never sit entirely well with the more comfortable.

Indeed, looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is interrupted by gay activists demanding the organizers denounce governments throughout the Caribbean for their criminalization of same sex activity and admonish those participating in the parade who hold homophobic sentiments.

This was exactly my thought also. And in the wake of the Orlando massacre, I found this gesture to be especially churlish.

What about Orlando makes this especially churlish?

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

pookie wrote:

bagkitty wrote:

Indeed, looking forward to seeing the reaction when the Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade is interrupted by gay activists demanding the organizers denounce governments throughout the Caribbean for their criminalization of same sex activity and admonish those participating in the parade who hold homophobic sentiments.

Do you not accept BLM activists as part of the queer community?  

Being dependent on media reporting rather than seeing what went on first hand, I must admit that I am puzzled that there was no "dropping the beads" by the activists speaking on behalf of he group... of course this may have been something that the media opted to omit - although after re-reading the list of demands itself, BLM seems to identify as essentially an ally rather than part of the LGBT communities and I am never terribly enamoured of vanguardism on the part of allies. But to directly respond to the question, I am sure that the the activists within BLM are part of the alphabet soup in something pretty close to the proportion they are in other populations.

mark_alfred

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2691219151/

Good interview with a representation from Black Lives Matter and also with a representative from Pride Toronto.  ETA:  I heard this earlier on the radio, and the interview with the Pride Toronto rep went on longer -- it gets cut here, though, which is too bad.

6079_Smith_W

pookie wrote:

If their uniforms symbolize oppression and violence against black people, why not?

Without getting into the numerous reasons why it is not as simple as that, the organizer who signed that demand pointed out the most basic reason why not: 

because that is a decision to be made by the entire community.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/07/04/police-chief-waiting-on-prid...

 

pookie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

pookie wrote:

If their uniforms symbolize oppression and violence against black people, why not?

Without getting into the numerous reasons why it is not as simple as that, the organizer who signed that demand pointed out the most basic reason why not: 

because that is a decision to be made by the entire community.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/07/04/police-chief-waiting-on-prid...

 

I don't have an issue with consultation, but I think you have shifted the goalposts from your earlier post which was strongly defending the right of LGBT cops to be part of the parade in their uniforms.

 

Pondering

pookie wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

pookie wrote:

If their uniforms symbolize oppression and violence against black people, why not?

Without getting into the numerous reasons why it is not as simple as that, the organizer who signed that demand pointed out the most basic reason why not: 

because that is a decision to be made by the entire community.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/07/04/police-chief-waiting-on-prid...

 

I don't have an issue with consultation, but I think you have shifted the goalposts from your earlier post which was strongly defending the right of LGBT cops to be part of the parade in their uniforms.

Demands and physical protests usually happen after a discussions fail. BLM never even gave the LBGT community a chance to express their point of view or defend from their perspective. They went straight to hostile after being invited to be honored guests. BLM also made demands for other groups who didn't, as far as I know, give them leave to do so. Including some other groups (Asians, hearing impaired, indidgenous) is exclusionary. What about the blind? Shouldn't they have special accomodations as well? how about people in wheelchairs? They demanded double funding for Blockorama. Is BLM going to start fundraising for Pride? If not which group will have money taken away from it?

Going straight to coercion without even attempting dialog is hostile. They owe Pride an apology.

I am against the "all lives matter" slogan because it ignores the fact that black lives are at greater risk, but there is a difference between the message "black lives matter" and "nobody else's lives matter" .  The message I got from this move was "only black lives matter". 

6079_Smith_W

pookie wrote:

I don't have an issue with consultation, but I think you have shifted the goalposts from your earlier post which was strongly defending the right of LGBT cops to be part of the parade in their uniforms.

I haven't shifted the goalposts at all. I make direct reference to it as one of the "numerous reasons" and didn't feel it was necessary to repeat myself.

My point is the bottom line:  that the organizer, and the person who signed that paper has confirmed that this is not a decision that will be made as part of a ransom.

And Pondering, I woudn't make that comparison because it isn't other people like us who are being murdered. I get that this was important enough to them that they were willing to be seen as hijackers and grandstanders to make this point, and risk losing a lot of the good will that they have built up.

It still doesn't mean they get to dictate what is going to happen, because there are other people involved.

 

 

mark_alfred

Statement from CUPE Ontario:  http://cupe.on.ca/pride-action-black-lives-matter-important-lgbtq-commun...

Quote:
“Pride was born out of the police persecution of Toronto’s gay community,” said Hahn. “We have come a long way since then and if you are a white, gay male, like me, you are much less likely to face police harassment today than you were five or ten years ago. The same can’t be said for all LGBTQ folks and solidarity demands that we all stand together.”

[..]

“CUPE Ontario is a proud ally of the important work Black Lives Matter is doing,” said Hahn. “In the original tradition of Pride, we salute their use of direct action with clear demands that resulted in positive change for thousands of people in our city. On behalf of our union, we offer not only our thanks, but also our solidarity in our shared fight for justice and equality.”

Unionist

mark_alfred wrote:

Statement from CUPE Ontario:  http://cupe.on.ca/pride-action-black-lives-matter-important-lgbtq-commun...

Quote:
“Pride was born out of the police persecution of Toronto’s gay community,” said Hahn. “We have come a long way since then and if you are a white, gay male, like me, you are much less likely to face police harassment today than you were five or ten years ago. The same can’t be said for all LGBTQ folks and solidarity demands that we all stand together.”

You scooped me, mark_alfred! Thanks for posting. So proud of my brother Fred Hahn. Those who will not stand up against the oppression of others will stand alone when it comes to their own oppression.

mark_alfred

Yeah, Hahn's a great guy.  I've only met him a couple of times -- once at a Labour Parade and the other time when I met him at an event for Linda McQuaig -- and each time he was really great and enthusiastic. 

Sineed

The perspective of an American LGBT activist:

Quote:

Judging by their success in forcing Toronto Pride to capitulate, I suspect we’ll see Black Lives Matter groups protesting more Pride parades in the future. And as a longtime national and international LGBT rights activist, I have a problem with that.

In a nutshell: Fred Phelps protests Pride parades. Our friends don’t....

Dogging progressive allies is a waste of resources, and counterproductive. It gets you less bang for the buck than targeting actual racists, and it also ticks allies off, which does nothing to advance your cause. For example, Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination. So BLM targets Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And the Republicans are two weeks away from a convention where they will nominate a racist xenophobe. So BLM targets the gays. Priorities, people, priorities.

Demanding a cut back on cops following Orlando is supremely bad timing

And let’s say a word about BLM’s supremely poor timing.

Three weeks after the horrific terrorist attack in Orlando, when on that same day a well-armed man was arrested on his way to LGBT Pride in West Hollywood, the LGBT movement is on pins and needles over concerns about another possible attack. We’re getting frisk-searched upon entering Pride parties (as I was upon entering the Buzzfeed party in NYC), and the police are forced to station counterterrorism units to defend our bars (as they did at the Stonewall Inn the week after Orlando) and our meeting places (I also ran in the counterterrorism police outside New York’s LGBT community center).

With all of that, Black Lives Matter thought it would be a good idea to sow chaos by throwing pyrotechnics in the middle of the most important LGBT event of the year. It’s not only the worst time to be demanding fewer cops, it’s also the worst way — by in essence simulating an explosion. Talk about your trigger warnings.

http://americablog.com/2016/07/black-lives-matter-shuts-toronto-lgbt-pri...

 

pookie

The privilege on display here is something to behold.

Caissa

One question in all of this seems to be is there a hierarchy of oppressed groups?  Has Pride become mainstream?  How should allies interact with each other? When and other what circumstances is direct action the apprpriate response?  Does this discussion taking place in the LGBTQ forum have an effect on how it should be approached?

Unionist

pookie wrote:

The privilege on display here is something to behold.

My feelings as well.

I'm quoting from Fred Hahn (not from the U.S.):

Quote:

“Black Lives Matter has successfully shone a much needed spotlight on the institutional racism that exists within the police force toward recialized people in this city,” said Hahn. “The group is led by strong black women who are part of our LGBTQ+ communities. Their actions yesterday helped bring about change that people have been trying to achieve for many years. They gave voice to so many of us who are increasingly marginalized by how Pride is currently being run.”

Among the demands agreed to yesterday, were support and funding for community stages with self-determination for the programing of those events, increased funding for queer and trans black youth during Pride, and a community town hall so that people who make up the diversity within the LGBTQ+ communities can start to have more say over their festival.

“CUPE Ontario is a proud ally of the important work Black Lives Matter is doing,” said Hahn. “In the original tradition of Pride, we salute their use of direct action with clear demands that resulted in positive change for thousands of people in our city. On behalf of our union, we offer not only our thanks, but also our solidarity in our shared fight for justice and equality.”

Did I mention how proud I am of him?

wage zombie

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Caissa (as MegB also did) raises an interesting point. Is there a problem with Pride becoming part of the mainstream, so long as its roots of protest and resistance still have a place?

Can you elaborate on what you think this might look like?

6079_Smith_W

I like what Hahn says. One should be supportive of allies, after all. But I am aware of what he does not say.

Caissa (as MegB also did) raises an interesting point. Is there a problem with Pride becoming part of the mainstream, so long as its roots of protest and resistance still have a place? I am sure anyone who has worked to organize a large LGBT event can tell you it doesn't happen without a wide range of people supporting it. That was my experience, anyway.

I am sure we have all heard people who bemoan marriage equality because it brings LGBT people one step closer to being boring like the rest of us. No one gave the Unitarians a hard time at our local festivities for setting up a wedding booth. Even the chief of police showed up and had his picture taken.

I know there is a long way to go, but do we really want the alternative?

I have said it before, it is yet another way in which we straight white guys have it easy; we never have people questioning whether we are legitimately who we are, based on the choices we make.

 

6079_Smith_W

I don't know wage zombie. It is not my gig. Is anyone telling them they can't be there? Did the organizers call the cops and have them moved, as they could have done?

So I'd say the answer to your question is what happened on the weekend.

I'm not saying I think BLM's concerns were illegitimate.I would hope that some progress comes out of this. I don't see that happening by drawing up battle lines.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Did the organizers call the cops and have them moved, as they could have done?

Shame.

 

6079_Smith_W

Did they?

That's usually what a mainstream organization would do if someone was holding up the show.

And you really don't want to go inviting shame memes, do you?

 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

I think I have some left over shame and guilt disposal bags around somewhere... we used to give them out free with a current copy of the Gay Agenda (TM).

Ken Burch

bagkitty wrote:

I think I have some left over shame and guilt disposal bags around somewhere... we used to give them out free with a current copy of the Gay Agenda (TM).

Is the Agenda only available in hard copy, or do you have an app for it?

Unionist

wage zombie wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Caissa (as MegB also did) raises an interesting point. Is there a problem with Pride becoming part of the mainstream, so long as its roots of protest and resistance still have a place?

Can you elaborate on what you think this might look like?

Sure. It looks like calling the cops when black activists delay your parade. That's being as mainstream as you can get. Fortunately, Pride in Toronto has zero interest in being "mainstream".

6079_Smith_W

Ah. So evidently you did get my point regarding people calling them mainstream.

For a minute I thought you were serious about getting out the wimple and the big brass bell.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Ken Burch wrote:

bagkitty wrote:

I think I have some left over shame and guilt disposal bags around somewhere... we used to give them out free with a current copy of the Gay Agenda (TM).

Is the Agenda only available in hard copy, or do you have an app for it?

They make lovely coffee table books, I know someone was working on an app, but kept getting distracted by Grindr...

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