Edmonton Gay Pride Festival Cancelled After Meeting With Anti-Police Fringe Groups Ends With Call To Police

April 16, 2019 6:05 pm  

(Gateway Pundit) – Organizers of the Edmonton Pride Festival have canceled what was to be a 10 day event over threats and demands issued by unhinged far left activists.

Like similar events in most other cities, the festival was to be a celebration of gay pride. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, such events served as central gatherings and rallying points for all things left of center. But in 2019, if you’re holding an event that merely focuses on gay pride, you’re not inclusive enough for the far left, because you’re not talking about people of color, immigrants, colonization, climate justice, islamophobia, or anti capitalism.

Their list of demands include references to “QTIBPOC” and “LGBTIQ2S+” (whatever those mean) while also demanding $41,500 plus monthly funding to combat capitalism. They also claim that the Edmonton Pride Festival Society is causing harm to the QTIBPOC community.

The activist groups protested last year’s parade because the organizers refused too uninvite police and military.

Evidently the two sides tried to hold a meeting to discuss their differences, but festival organizers ended up calling the police on unruly SJW’s, as The CBC reports:

The decision comes not long after police were called to a meeting of the board of directors.

The board was meeting on April 4 to discuss a list of demands put forward by two local organizations — Shades of Colour and RaricaNow — that advocate for people of colour and refugees in Edmonton’s LGBTQ community. The demands include a call for the festival to allocate more funding to under-represented artists and facilitators.

The same groups also helped organize a demonstration at last year’s Pride parade calling for the organizers to uninvite Edmonton police, RCMP and military personnel, amid a Canada-wide debate over the presence of police in Pride parades.

The groups have been meeting with the board over the past 10 months and drafted a list of seven demands for the board, said V. Guzman, a co-organizer and facilitator with Shades of Colour.

Four representatives from the two groups were invited to speak at last week’s meeting, according to Clayton Hitchcock, co-chair of the Pride Festival Society. But when roughly 30 supporters showed up, they were stopped at the door and told they had to be members of the organization to participate in the meeting.

In an interview with CBC News last week, Hitchcock said group members pushed their way into the meeting. He said members of the board felt unsafe and decided to call police.

Guzman, a Latinx non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns, said no one from the group was arrested and police were co-operative.

But they said it was “a moment of pure irony” when the board called the police on a peaceful group trying to discuss the history and relationship between police and Edmonton’s LGBTQ community.

“Whoever called the police — I don’t know who it is — I don’t think they understood the systemic issues that we were bringing up within our demands,” they said. “I remember yelling at them, ‘You do not understand the repercussions of your actions and what you just did to our community.’”

As per a Facebook post by the activists protesting the Pride events:

Ease of reading version: https://drive.google.com/file/d/14YbfuNswFwFyIT3eTHac5Ekf8LHGudz7/view?usp=sharing Hiiiii…

Posted by Shades of Colour Community YEG on Saturday, March 30, 2019

Shades Of Colour Community YEG “about” section reads:

We host meet-ups (roughly( every two weeks at various locations and cafe’s around the city for QTBIPOCs (Queer and Trans, Indigenous, Black, and People of Color) and we ask that is remains a closed space for this community.

We are QTIBPOCs making spaces for other QTIBPOCs who need this safe spaces to breathe. We hope that this will help to fill the gaps within community that affirm our experiences and identity and move towards strengthening healthy multi-generational relationships that are needed.

We strive to provide ongoing support for individuals who are struggling with their experiences and identities, and facilitate open and honest discussions.

In case they delete the post, their full list of demands reads:

Pride Demands 2019

As presented by Shades of Colour and RaricaNow

EPSF has started to meet our initial demands that we presented at Pride 2018. We are happy that police and military have been removed from Pride. Today, we are meeting to discuss the ‘well-funded QTIBPOC space at Pride’ which was also a demand mentioned at Pride 2018, as well as other demands.

Demand # 1

– Reorganize the structure of Pride. Open Pride with a protest lead by QTIBPOC, trans folx and their allies.

Allocate funding for QTIBPOC and trans folks to host community building and creative workshops – and make this the main feature of Pride in the Park. Included in this would be musical performances by QTIBPOC artists. Finally, End Pride in the Park with a vigil to honour the lives of LGBTIQ2S+ activists and community members that were lost due to systemic oppression including transphobia, racism, classism, capitalism, etc.

It is essential, and in line with the theme ‘Stonewall’, that Pride is lead with a protest against systemic injustice. This protest will be filmed in the News, and this will give QTIBPOC an opportunity to have our voices heard in the broader community. This protest will be in place of the parade, and anyone who joins must have beliefs that are in line with the message of the protest.

Shades of Colour Community and RaricaNow will assess via email who applies to partake in the protest and ensure the applicants adhere to a set of criteria based on the values and principles of the protest. Upon inspection by Shades of Colour and RaricaNow, applicants will be either permitted or denied entry. These criteria will be attached to this document. *

It is imperative that the feature of Pride in the park 2019 is community building workshops run by QTIBPOC and trans paid facilitators, as well as an honorarium for all performances by QTIBPOC and trans artists. Workshop themes can and should include: Poetry writing, songwriting, visual art workshops, navigating gender, navigating race, spirituality and race, unlearning misogyny for masc individuals, queer and trans representation in the media, refugee storytelling workshop, refugee support workshops, cultural music, dance & drama activities, QTIBPOC mentorship, Climate Justice activism, protecting our land, indigeneity, etc. These workshops and resources should take up the most space and be at the centre of Pride in the Park with potential vendors on the outside of these workshops. A workshop schedule should be included in the Pride Guide, and we are open to providing suggestions for facilitators, although this needs to be a team effort.

Finally, Pride in the Park needs to end with a vigil to honour the lives lost due to numerous forms of oppression (transphobia, racism, colonization, queerphobia, capitalism, classism, ableism, Islamophobia, homophobia, etc.). Part of this would include setting up a memorial wall listing the names of LGBTIQ2S+ lives lost including those in other countries where their identities are delegitimized and punished. Moving forward, we desire Pride in the Park to continue this activity and make it a tradition in the following years. Historically, Pride hasn’t been a time where we honour those that fought before us and those who fight to this day in other countries where LGBTIQ+ identities are condemned and punished. Let us also acknowledge the LGBTIQ+ refugees who have suffered not only in refugee camps but also within their own countries due to their sexual orientation. QTIBPOC+ and trans folx will lead this vigil, followed by white allies and supports.

Applicant Criteria*

1. Applicants will recognize the ongoing, lasting effects of colonization and the ways in which systemic oppression continues to impact the Indigenous people of this land, as well as displaced and migrant people. Applicants will honour the ways in which colonization has further marginalized queer and trans individuals who are a part of these racialized groups. Applicants will acknowledge that whiteness is pervasive in mainstream LGBTQ+ communities.

2. Applicants will honour this land as Indigenous land. We are situated on Treaty 6 territory. This land is home to Cree, Nakota Sioux, Dene, Saulteaux, Ojibwe, Blackfoot and Metis people. Indigenous folks have relationships with this land, and this land is intrinsically connected to the relationships that we build with one another, and with ourselves. The work that we do at Shades of Colour and RaricaNow honours and recognizes the community-based practices of many Indigenous folks of this nation, and we are blessed to have access to teachings and knowledge that can support QTIBPOC on Treaty 6 Land. We need to fight to defend this land at all costs against all threats, including government-sanctioned invading pipelines.

3. Applicants will recognize that people who live with intersecting identities face multiple layers of marginalization. Disability justice, the fight against transmisogyny, the fight against capitalism, the fight against classism, as well as prison abolitionist movements intersect with fighting the ongoing effects of racism and queerphobia.

4. Applicants will recognize this protest as one piece of a large fight towards liberation, for all people on Treaty 6 Land and for people from all countries where LGBTIQ+ rights are violated and/or it is deemed illegal to be gay. QTIBPOC started the Pride movement as we know it. This protest honours Stonewall and the legacy of our QTIBPOC ancestors and elders, many who have lost their lives to systemic violence. **Pride in the Park and the initial protest will be planned by the Edmonton Pride Festival Board, with the guidance of Shades of Colour and RaricaNow as we see necessary.**

DEMAND # 2

– Rework the budget, and provide Shades of Colour (SoC) and RaricaNow with $20,000 each.

The Edmonton Pride Festival receives well over $200,000 a year from sponsorships, grants, and donations in kind. Out of this $200,000, 2% goes towards community investment. This evens out to $4000 dollars. (Which is a very small number, compared to 200k.) Our demand during 2018’s Pride Protest was ‘well-funded QTIBPOC specific spaces at Pride’. However, we acknowledge that in order for EPSF to provide us with ‘well-funded QTBIPOC spaces’ on Pride that are actually effective, we need to think about how these spaces can exist within the context of the communities that we build every day. What is important to note, is that community is not event-based and does not start and end on June 8th. QTIBPOC face a multitude of barriers every second of every day. Systemic oppression exists with or without the Pride Parade. The work RaricaNow and SoC do is essential to the community because we both provide support spaces for QTIBPOC every two weeks, and we also engage in ongoing community work between those biweekly meetings. In this context, not only do we need to fund the Pride space on June 8th, but we also need to follow up with an action plan to sustain the community, a community that will be guaranteed to grow on this day. This action plan could take months to properly develop and organize, and therefore we believe $20,000 for each of our organizations is necessary. While we feel that $20,000 is necessary – we are open to negotiations.

DEMAND # 3

– Provide the SOC Team and the RaricaNow team with money to access ongoing training so we can best create these spaces for our communities.

Training is an invaluable part of both individual and organizational growth. The knowledge that it brings can truly change a community. Due to differences in lived experience, it is clear that the Pride Board cannot provide us with the training we need to best work with QTIBPOC communities. As community organizers we often find ourselves facilitating the training for other agencies, and unfortunately, do not have the opportunity to access conferences ourselves.

Often, the knowledge we’re desperately seeking isn’t here yet, and can only be found outside of Edmonton. In these situations, we realistically may need to travel to larger more established cities such as Brooklyn, Oakland, etc where this knowledge exists. Our demand is that the Pride Board funds these learning opportunities so that we can bring the knowledge back to our own communities.

DEMAND # 4

– $1500 to fund a SOC organized QTIBPOC sober dance party on the evening of pride.

Shades of Colour (in partnership with La Connexional) is hosting an intentional sober dance the night of Pride. This community space will give QTIBPOC an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, and access a space that acknowledges and honours their multiple intersecting identities. Our vision is to provide QTIBPOC with a space to move their bodies in ways that they may not feel safe doing in everyday life or mainstream queer spaces.

When people face queerphobia, transphobia and racism collectively, it can be difficult to form positive relationships to their bodies. For some, dance offers a way to work through those difficult feelings. Almost every culture uses dance as a way to tell stories, celebrate, and share rituals. For QTIBPOC who have been disconnected from their cultures due to the ongoing effects of colonialism, dance represents a way to reconnect to their culture, or may even hold spiritual significance.

The fact that we have chosen Pride day specifically for this event is relevant. In the 1960’s and preceding decades, suspected queer individuals could be arrested for displaying any affection towards their partners, and for wearing “inappropriate gendered clothing”. Due to racialization and segregation, these laws impacted QTIBPOC communities severely. Gay bars and dance spaces became literal safe havens for many trans racialized individuals, as well as ‘runaway’ youth who got kicked out of their homes for their queer identities. Stonewall Inn specifically was one of the only gay bars that allowed dancing. This is important to contextualize as dances during Pride in Edmonton haven’t been sober – making it hard for many in the community to participate since some people have difficult relationships with alcohol. This makes it hard for these spaces to feel like modern day safe havens.

This dance is also needed as The Edmonton Pride Festival Society (EPSF) has been lacking spaces that centre QTIBPOC communities. Since the theme of 2019 Pride involves Stonewall and honouring QTIBPOC experiences, we believe creating our own dance space to honour our own experiences makes sense. Our event (for accessibility purposes) needs to be ‘pay what you can’, and this money will subsidize the costs.

DEMAND # 5

– Write a public accountability Statement outlining the harm the EPFS has caused the QTIBPOC community and a public commitment to rectifying this harm.

This statement will be publicly released with this document by the EPFS.

We appreciate that the EPFS agreed to meet our demands in 2018. However, there is still some public confusion about your stance on supporting QTIBPOC communities. Our demand is that the EPSF writes a public accountability statement about the harm that the EPFS has caused QTIBPOC+ communities, and also about their commitment towards change. This is in line with transformative justice principles and is long overdue. In order to be fully transparent to the larger queer and trans community, the EPFS need to release this document alongside their statement.

DEMAND # 6

– Feature Shades of Colour and RaricaNow on the front four pages of the Pride Guide.

We believe it is important that resources for QTIBPOC+ are featured on the front four pages of the Pride Guide. Considering the history of Pride and the decision to focus on Stonewall this year, the Pride Guide needs to reflect the ongoing crises QTIBPOC+ experience on a daily basis. We feel as though resources for QTIBPOC+ and trans folks are more important than advertisements and political endorsements, and by meeting this demand, EPFS can show the city that they acknowledge the impact of systemic oppression on marginalized communities, and that they are willing to fight with us.

DEMAND # 7

– Work with RaricaNow to support QTIBPOC refugees and newcomers.

Provide resources in writing support letters when necessary, and make a public commitment to centre these communities.

The experiences that queer and trans racialized refugees and newcomers face are unique. These communities often experience further layers of marginalization, (e.g. lack of access to health care, income, housing, language, employment, etc.) Oftentimes, queer and trans refugees are not able to access the support of their families, or home communities and seek communities/resources here. RaricaNow provides these individuals with access to ongoing support. Oftentimes, letters of support and advocacy are necessary to keep community members in the country, and our demand is that the EPFS leverages their power and engages with us in this advocacy work as this can literally mean the difference between life and death for some community members. It is absolutely crucial that the stance of EPFS on this issue is public, for transparency, and so that people can learn about the advocacy work going on in this city, and mobilize.

Thank you for reading through our demands and taking the time to meet with us. We look forward to working together with EPFS in supporting QTIBPOC specific spaces in our community.”

If anyone can translate this to English, please let us know.

thegatewaypundit.com/2019/04/edmonton-gay-pride-festival-canceled-after-meeting-with-anti-police-fringe-groups-ends-with-call-to-police/

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