Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Toronto Reminds Us That Pride Is a Protest - ADVOCATE

by Daniel Reynolds 
Originally published: July 4, 2016
Publisher: Advocate.com 

Rainbow smoke swirled around members of Black Lives Matter Sunday at an intersection in Toronto. The group, which advocates for vulnerable communities, had set off smoke grenades in the midst of the city’s Pride parade. Afterward, they staged a shutdown that stalled the march for 25 minutes.

“We are under attack,” yelled Alexandria Williams, a Black Lives Matter cofounder, after the smoke cleared, in comments reported by the Toronto Star. “Pride Toronto, we are calling you out for your anti-blackness, your anti-indigeneity."

The parade resumed when the executive director of Pride Toronto, Mathieu Chantelois, and the organization’s cochair Alicia Hall met with organizers and discussed their concerns. Afterward, the organizers signed an agreement to hire more trans employees and queer people of color, increase funding for events that support and showcase these communities, and eliminate police floats from future marches. And then, the show went on.