This year despite the fact that Black Lives Matter TO is set to be honored at the July 3rd Gay Pride parade it didn’t stop them from crashing a Toronto Police news conference Friday, where Chief Mark Saunders unveiled a mural honoring the local LGBTQ community chanting “No pride in police”
The mural, in the gay village near the corner of Church and Wood Sts., is meant to celebrate the history, diversity and strength of Toronto’s LGBTQ community, according to a police news release.
But the protesters claim the media event, like the Toronto police chief’s public apology this week for the 1981 bathhouse raids, was a publicity stunt.
They are “PR tools used to mask the reality of police relations amongst the queer and trans community: black people, indigenous people, sex workers et cetera,” said Black Lives Matter co-founder Rodney Diverlus, 26, after disrupting the unveiling.
The reverend and gay rights activist, Brent Hawkes, tried to mediate between Black Lives Matter and the police, to no avail.
Black Lives Matter is still waiting for the police to meet the demands it made after its tent city protest outside police headquarters on College St. this spring, Diverlus added.
At the time, the protesters called for a face-to-face meeting with Saunders and an overhaul of the Special Investigations Unit, the civilian agency that investigates serious crimes allegedly committed by officers.
Const. David Hopkinson, a police spokesperson, said the chief’s apology for the raids and the new mural aren’t empty gestures.
“I believe the chief was heartfelt in his apology for the bathhouse raids. He was sincere in his words.”
Meanwhile on our side of the pond……
The San Francisco Bay Area’s chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) has pulled out of San Francisco’s gay pride parade because the city provided an increased police presence for security in wake of the Orlando shootings.
In a statement announcing its withdrawal, Black Lives Matter insisted that the increased police presence “does not increase safety for all people.”
BLM spokeswoman Malkia Cyril claimed, “We know firsthand that increasing the police presence at Pride does not increase safety for all people. Militarizing these events increases the potential for harm to our communities and we hope in the future SF Pride will consider community-centered approaches to security at pride events.”
Malkia also insisted, “As queer people of color, we are disproportionately targeted by both vigilante and police violence.”