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Pride Toronto backtracks from Black Lives Matter promises

‘My priority yesterday was to make the parade move,’ ED says

Pride Toronto’s executive director Mathieu Chantelois meets with Black Lives Matter Toronto during its sit-in and protest at the 2016 Pride parade. Credit: Rob Easton/Daily Xtra

Pride Toronto is backing away from the promises made to Black Lives Matter Toronto during a protest that temporarily shut down the Pride Parade.

“My priority yesterday was to make the parade move,” Mathieu Chantelois, the executive director of Pride Toronto, told CP24 the following day on July 4, 2016. “Frankly, Black Lives Matter is not going to tell us that there are no more floats anymore in the parade.”

Instead, Chantelois said it is up to the community and the membership of Pride Toronto to determine whether or not the police should march in Pride.

Chantelois said that he was on board with all of the demands except for excluding police floats from Pride.

“Most of these things I can do because they’re simple and they’re operational,” he said. “But for something big like this, if the community doesn’t agree with the decision that we are making as an executive, we need to all sit down together and we need to make the right decision.”

Chantelois and Pride Toronto co-chair Alica Hall both signed off on the nine demands that BLMTO made after the group staged a sit-in at the intersection of Yonge and College streets.

(Rob Easton/Daily Xtra)

The other demands included more autonomy, funding and support for Blockorama, Black Queer Youth and other community organizations, the return of a South Asian stage, more ASL interpreters for black deaf people and more diverse hiring practices.

Chantelois said that he was personally comfortable with an organized police presence, but understands why some community members wouldn’t be.

“So I think as a community, we have to come together and make some important decisions together,” he said.

Pride Toronto refused requests for an interview with Daily Xtra, but issued a written statement: