Van­cou­ver po­lice reach deal to march in Pride pa­rade

The Province - - NEWS - SCOTT BROWN

The Van­cou­ver Po­lice Depart­ment and the Van­cou­ver Pride So­ci­ety have reached an agree­ment that will al­low of­fi­cers to march in the Aug. 6 Pride Pa­rade.

Black Lives Mat­ter Van­cou­ver asked the VPD last sum­mer to vol­un­tar­ily with­draw from the pa­rade, an event po­lice have taken part in ev­ery year since 2002, as “a show of sol­i­dar­ity and un­der­stand­ing” be­cause the pres­ence of uni­formed of­fi­cers makes some mi­nor­ity groups feel un­safe.

The re­quest came shortly af­ter Black Lives Mat­ter in Toronto blocked that city’s pa­rade un­til or­ga­niz­ers agreed to de­mands that in­cluded bar­ring po­lice floats.

The VPD mem­bers will march in the pa­rade as part of the City of Van­cou­ver en­try, which also in­cludes staff and of­fi­cials from the city, Van­cou­ver Pub­lic Li­brary, Van­cou­ver park board, fire­fight­ers and first re­spon­ders.

The ma­jor­ity of the VPD rep­re­sen­ta­tives will wear T-shirts, with only 20 per cent of the con­tin­gent march­ing in full uni­forms. There will also be no marked po­lice ve­hi­cles or sirens used in this year’s pa­rade.

The Pride so­ci­ety says the com­pro­mise was reached af­ter 10 months of con­sul­ta­tions with the po­lice and com­mu­nity groups.

“What we heard from some queer Indige­nous peo­ple, queer black folks, mem­bers of the trans com­mu­nity and LGBTQ2+ peo­ple of colour that they do not al­ways feel safe around po­lice, and that polic­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions — like other pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions, busi­nesses and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions — still have work to do when it comes to be­ing more in­clu­sive, and build­ing trust with marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties. We also heard sup­port for the po­lice to par­tic­i­pate and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the work they have done to date to en­gage with com­mu­nity and break down bar­ri­ers,” the pride so­ci­ety said to­day in a Face­book post.

The VPD have also agreed to par­tic­i­pate in Pride so­ci­ety-fa­cil­i­tated “lis­ten­ing cir­cles.”

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