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Pride Toronto apologizes to Black Lives Matter over parade protest

Organization says it is sorry for the racism expressed by community members in the wake of 2016 Pride parade.

Pride Toronto has issued an apology for its handling of the Black Lives Matter protest at this year’s Pride parade, and its aftermath.

“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,” wrote the organization’s board of directors in a statement posted to Pride’s website Monday night.

On July 3, BLM activists brought the 2016 Pride parade to a halt for more than 30 minutes, with a protest that called on Pride to answer for its alleged “anti-blackness.”

The parade resumed after Pride executive director Mathieu Chantelois and board co-chair Alica Hall signed the list of BLMTO demands that included promises to ban police floats from future parades, increase funding for black pride events and hire members of vulnerable communities.

Chantelois later came under fire when he said decisions such as banning police from Pride were not actually his to make, and he resigned his post in August “to pursue an opportunity with another organization.”

In its statement, Pride’s directors said they regretted the way they handled the BLMTO protest and apologized for the “unbelievable amount of racism expressed by members of our community through this organization.”

The directors also apologized to members of law enforcement who had “felt unfairly attacked and targeted by the community that it turns to for love and support.”

The statement comes after several outreach activities by Pride, intended to consult with LGBTQ community on what its members want from the organization. This included two nights of town hall meetings, a 1,000-person survey and emails from more than 1,100 community members.

“The responses we received clearly demonstrate a very divided community.… Particularly in a city like Toronto, where our intersecting identities and lived experiences mean our experiences in this city are very different,” Pride said.

“Race and gender are, perhaps not unlike the rest of society, clearly the issues with which our community has the greatest difficulty.”

Source: thestar.com

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