Black Lives Matter Toronto briefly halts Pride parade

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swallow swallow's picture

What does excluding uniformed police achieve? Thoser making the demand have bene pretty clear: it makes the parade feel like a safe space for them to attend. Fine to disagree, but it's not a mystery. 

Plenty to talk abuot a tthis month's Pride Toronto town halls!

6079_Smith_W

I didn't say it was a mystery, and I know what they said, swallow.

I said it will do a great deal of harm (it has done already), and very little good. And considering it is a wide open public space, and the cops are still there, it is completely meaningless except as a demonstration of control.

 

swallow swallow's picture

You asked what it would achieve. The answer is a perceived safer space. It's meaningless to you, but not to the people making the demand. 

Agree or disagree, it's up to you. 

6079_Smith_W

Safe spaces are not meaningless to me. I did not say that, and I do not think that.

But we are talking about a very public celebration in downtown Toronto, and who they are considering excluding is the organization whose job it is supposed to be to keep people safe.

So it is far from simple.

 

 

swallow swallow's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And considering it is a wide open public space, and the cops are still there, it is completely meaningless except as a demonstration of control.

Disagree. But it is indeed far from simple.

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

But we are talking about a very public celebration in downtown Toronto, and who they are considering excluding is the organization whose job it is supposed to be to keep people safe.

Did you miss the fact that Black Lives Matter does not believe that the TO police keep black people safe but in fact are part of the problem.

6079_Smith_W

No kropotkin, I didn't miss it. I know that is what they are saying.

Did you read what I just wrote at #200 about how effective a course of action that is?

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Yes, kropotkin, I know that is what they are saying.

Did you read what I just wrote at #200 about how effective a course of action that is?

You don't think anything much is effective. I admire people that fight back against injustice no matter the odds or the chances of success.

6079_Smith_W

I don't? I think the measures taken in Dallas by their chief have made a positive difference.

As for Toronto Pride, I think having a booth for the police to meet the public is a positive measure. Removing it does nothing but cut off any contact between people within the public and the police force who want change.

Again, do you see law enforcement as a necessary part of society? If so, why would you want to abdicate any opportunity to try and work with it, and instead brand them the enemy?

As I said, I bet the killer cops love seeing that wall built higher and higher.

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..so what do we do with the police? while these proposals are from the us they are well worth concidering with adjustments made to suit our situations in this country. 

Platform

quote:

In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda. We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.

We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and working class, differently-abled, undocumented, and immigrant.

Demands

quote:

Community Control

  1. Direct democratic community control of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, ensuring that communities most harmed by destructive policing have the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary action, control budgets and policies, and subpoena relevant agency information.
  2. An end to the privatization of education and real community control by parents, students and community members of schools including democratic school boards and community control of curriculum, hiring, firing and discipline policies.
  3. Participatory budgeting at the local, state and federal level.

 

6079_Smith_W

x

 

6079_Smith_W

Those are great ideas in principle, though it depends on what sort of democratic community control. I am sure the system of electing sherriffs in the states did a lot to entrench discrimination. As well, disenfranchisement of non-white voters at the local county level is what drove the U.S. federal government to take some electoral discticts under federal control. And the whole staes rights thing has often been used in very regressive ways - anti-gun control, anti- gay rights, and anti-abortion.

In fact, the whole right-wing militia movement is based on local direct control. Same thing for the "constitutional sherrif" movement:

https://www.splcenter.org/news/2016/08/03/intelligence-report-constituti...

So I think it can be done, and that is it a key part of it, but progressive measures usually require some sort of broader framework to ensure everyone is heard, and local control doesn't automatically mean a solution.

Unionist

From a statement by Pride Toronto:

Quote:

Pride Toronto wants to begin by apologizing emphatically and unreservedly for its role in deepening the divisions in our community, for a history of anti-blackness and repeated marginalization of the marginalized within our community that our organization has continued. Pride Toronto regrets the way Black Lives Matter – Toronto Coalition’s (BLMTO) protest was handled by our organization and the statements made following the Parade that did not represent our organization. We apologize that the lack of decisive decision-making has left many in our communities feeling attacked. This is the opposite of what Pride is all about. There has been an unbelievable amount of racism expressed by members of our community through this organization. For that, we are sorry. Individuals who proudly serve our communities in law enforcement and other roles in public safety have felt unfairly attacked and targeted by the community that it turns to for love and support. For that, we are sorry. Through this debate, all of you have turned to Pride Toronto for clear and decisive leadership and support through this issue and we have stayed quiet. For that, we are sorry.

When Pride Toronto selected Black Lives Matter – Toronto Coalition (BLMTO) to lead the Parade as the Honoured Group, we did so because it honoured the tradition of resistance and political expression within our movement, and highlighted the important work they are doing in this city to bring awareness to anti-blackness, discrimination and police violence. We knew this choice would be controversial, and that it would lead to difficult conversations between Pride Toronto and marginalized communities.

While we selected BLMTO with the best intentions and to purposefully create discussion, we were not properly prepared for the racism this would ignite. At the parade, BLMTO presented us with a list of demands which highlighted how Pride Toronto could better engage with and support the most marginalized voices within our community, including the black queer community. Some of these demands were not new to Pride Toronto and had been raised by our community members in the past; without progress.

Pride Toronto knew that for many years, the Black queer community has had to fight for their rightful place in the Pride festival—fight for space, fight for recognition and fight for support. Pride Toronto did not make enough of an effort to engage with members of our black community who have worked with the organization for a very long time. We made decisions, like the location of programming by our Black Queer Youth coalition, without appropriate engagement or consultation with those affected. So, when we received these demands – we understood that they are reflective of a long and difficult history between Pride and Black queer communities, but now also understand them to be reflective of our current efforts, or lack thereof, to improve relationships with Pride’s black community, and other marginalized communities. For this lack of understanding, effort to address historic wrongs, and repetition of past mistakes, we are sorry.

Pride Toronto remains committed to all of the demands agreed to and presented by BLMTO, Blackness Yes, Black Queer Youth, and others. We remain committed to demonstrating progress on each and every item and, as agreed, working with these groups to hold a public town hall this Winter to demonstrate progress and plans to deliver on these commitments.

mark_alfred

Very good.

6079_Smith_W

Nice words.

Still doesn't say what they are going to do.

 

quizzical

they're going to hold a public town hall.

6079_Smith_W

Wasn't that supposed to have happened in August? And my point is it doesn't say anything other than how very sorry they are. It certainly doesn't say anything about the things we are wondering about.

 

 

quizzical

what are we wondering about?

 

swallow swallow's picture

Start with an apology. Then real dialogue becomes possible. Good for them. 

Unionist

swallow wrote:

Start with an apology. Then real dialogue becomes possible. Good for them. 

Exactly.

6079_Smith_W

So it turns out they DID have meetings in August, and a lot of this is going to be solved through dispute resolution:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/pride-toronto-apoloply-black-lives...

That's a relief. I don't want to link to Sue-Ann Levy's Sun column because I don't agree with her, and frankly I don't need the shit storm. But I think her comment was fair that they apologized so much she thought Yom Kippur had come early.

Sorry to be a grinch, but to apologize way over the top in all directions, and not actually say anything about resolving the problem seems to me to be... well, a continuation of the indecision they were apologizing for in the first place. Or just being scared to say anything of substance.

Like I said, nice words, but I was left kind of shaking my head. So it is a relief that there actually is a plan.

(edit)

Oh, and BLMTO is rejecting the arbitration plan:

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/09/20/pride-toronto-apologizes-to-...

You know, given how crazy event planning is even without stuff like this, I am surprised the entire board hasn't just done what Chantelois did and said fuck it. I did read the Levy column, and it seems they are getting it from all sides.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

So it turns out they DID have meetings in August, ...

Which you would have known, had you taken a moment to read the Pride Toronto statement which I linked to above. Please read it. They had town hall meetings in August. They said so. You didn't need to read the Toronto Star to find that out.

Quote:
I don't want to link to Sue-Ann Levy's Sun column because I don't agree with her, and frankly I don't need the shit storm. But I think her comment was fair that they apologized so much she thought Yom Kippur had come early.

Yeah, after spending so much time justifying the attack on BLMTO, you clearly are not very pleased with their apology - for whatever reason - even though it's obviously an effort at healing, whatever its flaws.

Quote:
Sorry to be a grinch, but to apologize way over the top in all directions, and not actually say anything about resolving the problem seems to me to be... well, a continuation of the indecision they were apologizing for in the first place. Or just being scared to say anything of substance.

Yeah, according to you and some others in this thread, the "PROBLEM" is whether or not the police should be able to have floats in the parade. And we should all take sides on that. Instead of just listening to the victims of police profiling, brutality, and murder, and being their allies.

Quote:
Oh, and BLMTO is rejecting the arbitration plan:

Imagine that. They're rejecting "the arbitration plan". Whose plan was that? And why should they submit their demands to "judgment"?

Quote:
You know, given how crazy event planning is even without stuff like this, I am surprised the entire board hasn't just done what Chantelois did and said fuck it. I did read the Levy column, and it seems they are getting it from all sides.

Yeah, that poor Pride board, getting slammed by those BLMTO radicals, and everyone other progressive force that sees Black lives being snuffed out every single day in North America, poor little babies, they should seek other employment opportunities, like that Chantelois fellow, who signs an agreement and then says "haha, fooled you". May he snag a fine job with the Liberal Party or the police or some other such organization that appreciates liars.

pookie

+1000 (for Unionist's post)

The fact that the overriding concern of some on this thread is that police must not ever, ever be "excluded" has been.....bizarre.  Ditto the continuing digs at BLM.

"Getting it from all sides" is what happens when you aspire to be a leader in progressive matters and then...fail.  But by all means, they should have resign in a snit of martyrdom and not being appreciated.

SMDH.

 

6079_Smith_W

In your opinion.

I explained exactly why this concerns me, and given that Pride Toronto wants to turn this over to a dispute resolution panel (as they have done in the past), and from many comments in the media (not all of which are reactionary bigotry) I doubt I am the only one who feels that way.

It has been pretty clear from the start of this thread that we see things differently, so I can't imagine why you are calling it bizarre, or "shaking your damn head" unless you want to just pretend those differences of opinion do not exist.

I am not doing that about your values, and I am not rejecting BLM's concerns, even if I am daring to look at them critically.

And yes, given that there seems to be a fundamental difference of opinion on whether Pride is an eternal protest or a celebration for the whole community or something in between and at this point no one seems to be happy about it, I don't see anyone being satisfied until that gets resolved.

Fact is, there is only so much a board can do to achieve that. I am thinking of the planning work for an event that is NOT getting done at this point, and unlike those here praising those fine words, I am concerned because I don't see much of anything yet to bridge that divide.

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Fact is, there is only so much a board can do to achieve that. I am thinking of the planning work for an event that is NOT getting done at this point, and unlike those here praising those fine words, I am concerned because I don't see much of anything yet to bridge that divide.

I was quite optimistic when I read these words:

Pride Toronto wrote:
Pride Toronto remains committed to all of the demands agreed to and presented by BLMTO, Blackness Yes, Black Queer Youth, and others. We remain committed to demonstrating progress on each and every item and, as agreed, working with these groups to hold a public town hall this Winter to demonstrate progress and plans to deliver on these commitments.

You are very obviously not happy about this new position by Pride Toronto - because you were ardently defending the position taken by their disgraced ex-executive director.

So, suggestion: why not maintain your opinions, which is obviously your right, but don't let them stand in the way of appreciating the gestures of unity and healing, and wish the best to all involved?

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

You are very obviously not happy about this new position by Pride Toronto - because you were ardently defending the position taken by their disgraced ex-executive director.

What is "new" that you are talking about? There was actually an apology already, if not to the same degree.

But more importantly, the board did indicate that whatever was signed is not the final word. Or at the very least, they have indicated they have not made a decision.

Contrary to your assumption I'm not unhappy about it at all - certainly not in the way you seem to imply.. All I am doing is pointing out that there has been no solution yet. And give BLMTO's response to the proposal of arbitration, I wouldn't say the apology necessarily paves the way to resolving that impasse.

In practical terms things are no further along than they were the day after the parade.

 

 

pookie

I honestly don't understand how arbitration can work in this instance.  Arbitratation implies a set of conflicting interests in the context of pre-determined and identified rights that are amenable to authoritative decision-making.  It seems to me that nothing would be less productive as an approach in an instance like this.

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
The fact that the overriding concern of some on this thread is that police must not ever, ever be "excluded" has been.....bizarre.

I personally have zero stake in whether or not police can participate in Pride.  Heck, if Pride had always had a "no police" policy I probably wouldn't even find that odd. 

But I did find it odd that the police should be barred from the parade on the grounds that some protesters demanded it, and one individual agreed to it. 

I think it was always less a question of "did he really renege after he promised?" and more a question of whether one guy even had, for real, the authority to make a decision like that on behalf of a large and diverse community who might feel entitled to some input into the decision.

ed'd to add:

Quote:
It seems to me that nothing would be less productive as an approach in an instance like this.

Evidently, Pride has turned to it twice before.

In one case, arbitration resulted in QaIA being permitted to participate, and in the other it resulted in CAFE (basically an MRA) being banned from participation indefinitely.

pookie

Interesting - I hadn't known that.  Thx Magoo.

Mr. Magoo

Here's links.

QaIA

CAFE

Unionist

pookie wrote:

Interesting - I hadn't known that.  Thx Magoo.

I remember my profound distaste at the process, at least in the case of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid.

I also recall that [url=http://queerontario.org/?s=quaia]Queer Ontario opposed[/url] the process.

In any event, it's up to the participants and the community how they want to work out their procedures and disagreements. What's not debatable is the odious attacks against BLMTO. Pride Toronto, to their credit, has recognized that, in writing, unequivocally. Would be nice if others did as well.

 

6079_Smith_W

erm....

Point two in Queer Ontario's objection to the arbitration process:

Quote:

2.   The Pride Toronto Board abolish the DRP and never force a community group to have to justify its right to take part in the Pride festival again.

 

Evidently that doesn't apply in all cases, like CAFE, and Toronto Police.

I mean, noble thoughts and all, and I agree, but it does kind of clash with the situation we have in front of us right now.

 

Unionist

Bullshit. You never quit.

6079_Smith_W

You know Unionist, if you had anything to say about what you think about that point of objection it would be far more interesting.

(I would be interested, actually, since you cited them, and all)

As for your assumptions about my opinion and motive, I think I have heard it already. I don't particularly care, and it is not really relevant to the topic.

And I suppose if we're in a situation where I have to dot all my "i"s, and I don't want to be falsely accused of being a MRA defender,  I think the decision on CAFE was a fair one given their sexist political agenda. The current question is considerably more difficult, and I have explained upthread why I think so.

 

6079_Smith_W

Well if you really want to go there, you said "You never quit". Quit what? Engaging in this conversation? Disagreeing with you?

I know we disagree, and I am actually fine with it. But I should think we'd be able to keep on the subject, not on false assumptions about what you think I like and don't like.

 

 

swallow swallow's picture

The police are not "a community group," are they? 

The demand is not that police be banned. It's that the parade not welcome a formal police float. As far as I know, no one has a problem with police officers attending - it's the institution, not the individuals. 

Demand: "Removal of police floats in the Pride marches and parades." [url=http://blacklivesmatter.ca/demands/]All BLM-TO demands[/url]

6079_Smith_W

And no booth. Presumably no community relations presence.

 

Mr. Magoo

Seems like "no booth" wasn't part of the demands.  It's not mentioned in the link in #237, nor here.

Unionist

swallow wrote:

The police are not "a community group," are they? 

The demand is not that police be banned. It's that the parade not welcome a formal police float. As far as I know, no one has a problem with police officers attending - it's the institution, not the individuals. 

Demand: "Removal of police floats in the Pride marches and parades." [url=http://blacklivesmatter.ca/demands/]All BLM-TO demands[/url]

Thanks, swallow. Seems there needs to be a lot of pointing out the obvious here. But why not, I guess.

 

6079_Smith_W

Well that took awhile to track down a primary source, considering this wording was reported in pretty much all the media, from CBC to Global to the GandM and we talked about it quite a bit on the first go around (I have seen articles since where it is not there).

But here's an image of it from their facebook page:

And you really want to take a statement about no one having to justify their presence at Pride and get out the dictionary to look for loopholes?

Wouldn't it be simpler to just say you disagree with the statement? Because I think you may have missed the point.

As for the term, yeah, I did notice that, and frankly didn't bother, because I have already said I think there are far more compelling reasons for them to be there. I just figured we didn't need another trip around the mulberry bush.

 

swallow swallow's picture

Who are you addressing with that "you," Smith? 

6079_Smith_W

Sorry to put you on the spot, and perhaps you didn't mean it that way, but doesn't it seem a bit absurd?

Nobody should be forced to justify their presence except those who don't qualify?

Somehow I don't think that is what they meant.

 

 

swallow swallow's picture

Does that mean your remarks are addressed to me, Smith? I don't always understand who you're speaking to. Maybe you are addressing Unionist, who's made some vital points. 

If you are addressing me, then I'll give it a try.

The police can be present. The demand is that they not be given space as an institution in the parade itself, in the form of a float. There's no demand to ban police, or to ask them to justify their presence. There's a demand not to lend official sanction to the institution of uniformed police, which is why some parades suggested that police offciers who want to attend come, but leave their uniforms at home. 

Or maybe jsut leave the uniforms for the Village People tribute stage.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

You know Unionist, if you had anything to say about what you think about that point of objection it would be far more interesting.

Sure. I fully agree with their point #2. No community group should have to justify its presence in a Pride parade through some such procedure. Excluding QAIA was as reprehensible as the feeding frenzy against BLMTO (for which Pride has appropriately apologized).

Quote:
As for your assumptions about my opinion and motive, I think I have heard it already. I don't particularly care, and it is not really relevant to the topic.

I made no comment about your "motive". All I know is that you and others smeared BLMTO in this very thread, for what reason I don't really understand, and I do call bullshit on the different pretexts and stratagems used to do that.

 

6079_Smith_W

Yes, I know what the demand is, and the rationale.I know it includes booths, and it includes all Pride events.

I already explained back in the summer why I think it is a really bad idea.

swallow swallow's picture

OK, then a more direct answer: no, it does not seem absurd to me. Not in the slightest. 

Mr. Magoo

Quote:
The police can be present. The demand is that they not be given space as an institution in the parade itself, in the form of a float.

Here's what's still kind of absurd about that, though.

Cop on a float, laughing and dancing to "Hotline Bling" and spraying people with a huge pink Super Soaker:  A CLEAR AND PRESENT THREAT TO SAFETY.

Cop on duty, carrying a loaded Glock and a Taser:  HE CAN STAY.

kropotkin1951

Here is a thoughtfull article by a person who gets it.

"When I started working in an Indigenous ministry, an Elder told me I shouldn't wear my clergy collar when I was at Indigenous organizations or working with residential school Survivors. And it makes sense. Again and again survivors tell me that a priest in a collar is triggering. 

You know what I do?

I don't complain that it's not fair. I don't refuse to go to, or boycott Indigenous organisations. I don't call on the city to cut funding to those organisations. 

No, I recognize that my work uniform exacerbates PTSD. I understand the damage that my profession has done to marginalized communities. I respect the voices of my community. And I don't wear my collar in these spaces. 

http://www.knowable.com/a/t1/reverend-uses-best-analogy-to-explain-why-c...

6079_Smith_W

The chief of police had a similar take on it, following an attempt by some Toronto city councillors to cut pride funding over this dispute:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/pride-toronto-seeks-continu...

Just heard on CBC today that a number of Toronto police officers will be marching in uniform in New York instead.

kropotkin1951

6079_Smith_W wrote:

The chief of police had a similar take on it, following an attempt by some Toronto city councillors to cut pride funding over this dispute:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/pride-toronto-seeks-continu...

Just heard on CBC today that a number of Toronto police officers will be marching in uniform in New York instead.

That article didn't mention Chief's view of the effect of uniforms on people suffering PTSD from previous encounters with uniforms, so I am not sure what you mean.

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