Pride Toronto has officially apologized to Black Lives Matter Toronto in a public statement made on the Pride website, regarding the events that took place at this years Parade.
During the city’s past Pride parade, Black Lives Matter halted the celebration to protest the lack of support the community was receiving from Pride.
Stopping the parade for 25 minutes, the group presented specific demands such as inclusive hiring, banning cops in uniform from marching in future parades, increased funding for Blockorama (a party for LGBT people of colour), space and funding for Queer Black Youth, and a commitment to increase representation of people of colour on staff.
— BlackLivesMatter TO (@BLM_TO) July 4, 2016
Mathieu Chantelois, Pride Toronto’s executive director during the time of the protest, signed an agreement to meet the demands, but later revoked his promise, claiming he only agreed to get the parade moving. Chatelois has since stepped down amidst allegations of racism and sexism.
Now, over two months later, the Pride Toronto board of directors released a statement apologizing to Black Lives Matter Toronto for their own history of “anti-blackness”. Pride Toronto said they regret the way the protest was handled, including the statements made after the protest that explained they did not represent the organization.
It reads as follows:
“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.”
The statement also mentions the organization’s plans to make all people – regardless of their race or gender – feel welcome and comfortable at all Pride events.
“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.”
Read the full statement here.