This past May, after much deliberation with the Vancouver Police department (VPD), the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) released a statement announcing their decision to allow uniformed police officers to march in the upcoming Vancouver Pride Festival 2017.
This announcement comes after a year of intense activism and push-back from Black Lives Matter Vancouver (BLM) and their allies to remove uniformed officers, as a representation of an oppressive, violent and unjust institution, from the parade. This year of activism has seen countless protests, acts of solidarity from numerous LGBTQ and POC organizations, and consultations between the VPS and VPD.
As a youth social justice organization, Check Your Head aims to support, serve and advocate for the dedicated activists and allies from diverse backgrounds that lead and sustain us. These are people from various social, economic, sexual, abled, racial and ethnic backgrounds; signifying countless voices that are often marginalized, violated and oppressed by the institutional and colonial powers that drive nation states and organizations like the VPD.
From this positionality, we want to use our platform to express our sincerest solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the demands they have voiced to center the voices of Black, racialized, and people of colour. In doing so, Check Your Head would like to outwardly withdraw its support for this year’s Pride Parade and Festival and encourage others to do so as well.
As Vancouver’s latest Pride Festival approaches, we are reminded of the countless parades taking place across Turtle Island at a time where Black and racialized voices have been systematically ignored, undermined, and silenced. As a community, we have also witnessed moments of victory and affirmation in places like Toronto, Halifax & Calgary; glimpses of real hope, clarity and successful activism that seem too inconvenient for our city’s pride society and police department to acknowledge and accept.
You can access all the ways that we as a community can enact meaningful and powerful social change through BLM’s Facebook and website. Please take some time to read up on the original vision and goals of the pride protests and why demands for liberation made 50 years ago by those who spearheaded this movement, are even more relevant today.
Use the handy guide created by BLM Vancouver to show your support this pride: Boycott the pride parade and encourage your friends to do so, uplift the Black, racialized and Indigenous voices, divest from pro-police initiatives and events, donate to BLM, racialized and indigenous organizations.
In love and solidarity,
Milad Moradi Monfared on behalf of Check Your Head Staff & Board of Directors