Statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLM TO)
- Thank you for re-asserting the political roots of Toronto’s Pride which itself emerged when members of LGBTQ+ communities, especially Black and communities of colour, could no longer tolerate systemic police violence against them. The rebellion against the practice of raiding bathhouses was merely the turning point of resistance to a pattern of violent police behaviour, which ranged from harassment to physical assault.
- Given the ongoing, systemic violence of the police toward Black, Indigenous and other communities of colour, it is hard to imagine those same communities could feel safe participating in a parade where the police are not only tolerated but given a substantive platform in what is supposed to be a safe space celebrating resilience and struggle against oppression.
- We understand and recognize that the tactic of civil disobedience emerges when other avenues have failed to produce adequate results. For many years our communities have been struggling to ensure Pride represents us ALL. For this reason, we understand and support the tactic of BLM TO occupying space during the parade as a means of ensuring that black voices are finally heard. That it came to this should be cause – not for condemnation of BLM TO – but rather for serious self-reflection about racism and marginalization within our own communities.
- The actions that BLM TO took were for all of our communities such as the reinstatement of the South Asian Stage, self-determination and organizing for all community spaces in an increasingly corporate controlled event, ensuring funding and space for queer black youth and ensuring employment equity in the hiring from Black and communities of colour. This is about building an inclusive, vibrant and representative celebration of the LGBTQ+ communities that we want.
- For this reason, we re-assert the importance of building a movement based on intersectionality, where those communities facing oppression are themselves leaders in the fight for self-determination. We believe the liberation of one is not complete until the liberation of all.
- We commend Black Lives Matter Toronto for their leadership — and courage — in challenging systemic discrimination in all its forms.
The Workers’ Action Centre is committed to building a multi-racial, multi-lingual, and anti-oppressive movement for decent work among all those facing systemic discrimination within the labour market. For more information visit: www.workersactioncentre.org.